The Lion at Our Window
Yesterday marked one year since we arrived in South Africa, and we have not had a single visitor. I do understand the travel distance and flight cost. It’s an epic vacation, for sure, even once-in-a-lifetime.
We still ask ourselves how we ended up living here, and having these insane adventures, like this latest Kruger trip and an incredible lion sighting…
We had been sitting in the car for an hour or so just enjoying the non-predator activity at a dam. That morning we talked about how we have never had a “spot” on lions by ourselves; in other words, we have only seen wild lion when a group of cars were already stopped looking at lion. We talked about how amazing it would be if we were the first to spot lions sometime, or how incredibly lucky those people were who got those photos of lions in the road, walking around their cars.
Then, both happened.
[It was a surprise to look away from the dam and realize these lions were coming toward us!]
Kurt spotted them first: a lioness, followed by a young lion coming up the creek bed behind her. I looked around and realized we were the only car looking at the lions. There were a couple other cars in the area but they were looking at elephants and hippos in the dam.
[In total the pride ended up being about 8-10 lions, but we only saw about 5 at one time. Many walked in the grass alongside the road.]
We got the spot!
Then we realized they were coming our way!
Soon they were up on the road and cars quickly began piling up as people passing through began stopping and trying to angle for photos.
[You will never convince me lions aren’t able to distinguish people in a vehicle from the vehicle itself. They make eye contact. They look in each window as they pass.]
[Is she spotting me?]
We stayed exactly where we were, even though it meant people frequently blocking our shot. We were rewarded when the lioness came toward us and began walking around our car.
[Small car. Big lioness.]
[She stood behind our car for a long time watching the dam.]
If you’re on the fence about visiting South Africa, I hope this has helped push you in the right direction. You never know what encounters you’ll have here, but just one lucky break like this makes you know it was worth it.
[We kept our windows rolled up as this lioness walked by. We saw many stupid tourists actually hanging out their windows with cameras as the lions walked around. I kept expecting a Darwinian-style NatGeo moment]
And if lions aren’t your thing, consider this beautiful new tourism video below:
Happy Thursday, readers. Come visit South Africa.
[The lion stalking the tourists stalking the lions.]
More Traveling Marla posts from Kruger National Park:
Night Leopard: A Video
Parasitic Fly Problem? Dress Like a Zebra!
Southern Ground Hornbill in The Kruger
Hyenas in The Kruger
Quit Sitting on My Head!
African Fish Eagles
Bushbuck in The Kruger
Klipspringers Are the Cutest Things Since…Uh…Bambi?
Our First Hornbill
Camping in Kruger National Park
My Best Spot in Kruger: Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl
What Does Giraffe Say?
The Marla and The Kurt Went to The Kruger and Saw 0 Cheetahs
Attack of the Terrapins
For a Memorable Kruger Experience, Vacation Like a Twelve-Year-Old
Lion-Panther Cub and Lower Sabie Magic! Baby Big Five, Part Five
Four Nipples, Five Cubs? Tired Lioness: Baby Big Five, Part Four
The Battle at Kruger we Didn’t See (Baby Big Five, Part Three)
Gym Confrontation (and a Baby Elephant): Baby Big Five, Part Two
You Big Baby! (Five): Part One
Kruger…for the Scenery
Something Happened on the Way to Kruger
Win a Rhino!
Black Death? Big Five Part 4: Cape Buffalo
Spot the Leopard: Big Five Part 3
A Lot of Bull Sh*t: Big Five Part 2
This is Not a Tibetan Mastiff: Big Five Part 1