We have seen two lionesses in particular who are great characters, we watched these girls last night, not quite fully adult, clearly lacking much real experience in getting dinner for themselves. They had most of the right moves, but lacked any strategy – they spent the evening chasing a bunch of savvy oryx around in circles while we did our best to keep up. After a few hours, they wore themselves out, and we left them in deep sleep at about midnight, we drove the hour-long, bitterly cold journey back to camp.

An open top car may seem an odd choice for filming lions, but it gives us greater flexibility with cameras and visibility – even though it is a problem in rain and cold. (There’s no danger from the lions, they just treat us like a part of the landscape, the only ones who ever chase us are cocky cubs out for a bit of fun – although we are constantly vigilant with infra red scopes and thermal cameras.

It is really really cold
Winter in the Kalahari is usually 25 degrees during the day and 2 degrees at night. After the warm weather that brought the rain, an 'Antarctic front’ has returned, and even the days aren’t hot anymore. Driving in an open topped vehicle, in this dry cold air increases the wind chill factor enormously. Without even a windscreen to protect us from cold, we are wearing 6 or 7 layers of clothing, gloves, balaclavas and blankets.

A warming fire and a large whisky soon compensate

Today is re-supply day – it must be Friday. Still no replacement battery charger for the one that exploded during the storms two weeks ago, but we should get fresh veggies, new car radio, whisky and most importantly, water. This is the Kalahari, and it is a desert.


xl said...

Thank you for the clarification on the vehicle. Please be careful just the same.

Supplies, Friday, and whiskey are a good combo!

ammonite said...

Thank you for your concern XL - there are lots of perils on filming trips.

In Africa it's the smaller wildlife that is the most dangerous, this trip the crew found a puff adder in the kitchen tent on their first night.

kate said...

I second that! It's the little things in Africa that will get you: puff adders, scorpions, tree dassies (OK they just scare the hell out of you with their screaming at night...close enough)

cool blog! what an adventure! can't wait to see the film! -kate

Anonymous said...

hey! what are tree dassies? ah, i'll google them...
oh goodie, another adventure blog & in africa. wish i had been able to go years ago when i was young so will do so vicariously through your adventures.
love the drawings, by the way.
whisky + cold = happy campers

kate said...

deborah, if you can google the sound they make you're in for a treat! otherwise you can read my experiences with their night time antics: http://holdfastseeker.blogspot.com/2009/05/kenyan-field-journal-night.html

although this adventure blog is way better, I love the drawings too! -kate