Driving In Circles
A tip off from a tourist guide finally led us to the lions we wanted to film – well, it was only the cubs – still no sign of the females, but the cubs were looking pretty hungry, and chances of filming hunting behaviour were better than ever. When we returned that evening, the cubs were still there – still no sign of their mums. Just at after sunset, the cubs all ran off – they had heard their mothers calling from the bush, and the whole pride was reunited. Now all we had to do was follow them using the thermal camera. But the whole group promptly set off into thick mopane bush. We did get close to the lions but they just slept for a couple of hours. When they finally woke, they went into even more impenetrable bush – the car got stuck on some logs, and we had to let them go.
Clinton Ewards, a Botswanan wildlife expert working with us, had a good knowledge of this group – and based on his past experience guestimated where they might reappear. And he was right, there they were, looking a bit surprised to see us. But very soon, they headed off into thick forest again. We had to return to camp, cold and dejected. (The weather here is only slightly warmer than the Kalahari, and the Antarctic high pressure is still hanging around.)
The next morning we sent Sondag, the bushman tracker and Korbus, the trainee Dutch Reformist minister off to pick up the trail, to read the morning news printed on the sandy roads. Our family was soon found again. They had done a complete circle.