It had been two days with no lions sighting worthy of mention. A glimpse here and there of the great cats that had eluded us the last four drives as they moved in and out of the reed thicket along the Klaserie River was hardly what we would call a good sighting. One female lion had recently given birth in the reeds and that was the reason for their behavior at the moment. They emerged in the cool of the evening to roam the reserve in darkness, searching for the food required to manufacture milk for the cubs and themselves. No food meant no milk and, therefore, no nourishment for the young.
We followed tracks for most of the morning only to find they headed straight back into the reed thicket. We had a feeling this would happen so the same afternoon found us back in the area to see if they had emerged. The tracks indicated they had come out and had a bit of a walk around but returned once again to the sanctuary of the reeds. We left the area and soon found the tracks of the four young sub-adult lioness’ about 2km from where we left the adult tracks. Excitement filled our veins as the thrill of the chase was back in full force! Brett, Roel and I immediately split up in the area checking which roads had been crossed and which ones hadn’t. We quickly narrowed the block down and decided to continue on foot. Little did we know these cheeky devils had a plan of their own. The more we followed the more they walked and the more they walked the more we followed. Needless to say we spent much time chasing our own tails as the lions crossed their own track and doubled back repeatedly. Again we would return to the lodge empty handed but no discouraged.
The following morning saw Patrick in the area and, as Mother Natured wanted it to be so, he almost immediately found fresh track of the same four females we were following the afternoon before. Within ten minutes he had a sighting set up in the shade of a Weeping Boer Bean Tree and all the fruitless efforts of the last few days were forgotten. As the cameras clicked away I played the events of the last few days back in my mind and couldn’t help but wonder if those four rascals were actually laughing at the Rangers who were huffing and puffing after them through thorns and ravines.
By Paul Daniel