Walking And Roaring
After following the tracks of our lion family up and down the edge of the swamp, we finally found them. They had walked a good 10 kilometres on the sandy trackroads before settling down in some bushes. As we came round the corner, a warthog (startled by another vehicle) just ran right into them and met a grisly end. The brother of the bloody nosed male appeared out of the undergrowth and sent the females off the kill, while still allowing the cubs to feed. Minutes later there was only a head left, which the male chewed on.
Then, we heard some roaring not far off. Clinton identified this as the bloody nosed male – and his lady companion who roared as well, giving the game away. Our pride all roared back. This went on for an hour or so, the bloody nose male never coming closer than a couple of hundred metres. Shame we didn’t have a decent microphone as the whole car was shaken by the roars all around. You can hear a lion roaring on a still night at least 10 kilometres away. Lions can probably hear it from much further. Either way, at 10 metres it’s an incredible sound.
One little warthog barely touched the sides, and the whole pride were pretty hungry. Now we were going to get some hunting behaviour. Off they set – on the road – stopping looking and listening every few hundred metres. A herd of impala gave itself away with a rustle of a leaf or some noisy cud-chewing, the lionesses spread out in readiness for attack. But in the bright moonlight, one impala spotted the lions and gave an alarm whistle causing the entire herd to leg it – cubs watching all this with interest.
The lions moved on and we continued to follow them for another five kilometres and didn’t see another single animal. With the thermal camera we could be sure there was nothing on the menu out there tonight - the pride gave up and went to sleep. Waking after a couple of hours, the pride continued their journey – South, looking for a large herd of buffalo we guessed. They left us at the edge of thick woodland where we couldn’t follow.