May 2021

On patrol

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On patrol

We’d seen members of the Southern Pride the previous afternoon, and they were lazing about without any inclination to move, whatsoever. They were making out that even moving their eyeballs in their sockets to look at us was too much of an effort.

The Southern Pride surveying their kingdom.

The next morning we drove to Chiloveka Dam in the south, hoping to relocate them. Their resting place of the previous afternoon was deserted, so we enjoyed a coffee stop on the dam wall (see photo in Gallery). We then trundled off, heading north. A few kilometres away we spied two bull elephants in a dense mopane forest, and one of them had an enormous tusk – the other tusk had broken off. The big bull was very shy and there was no way into the forest to photograph him from the vehicle, and his askari was doing a very good job of staying by his side and shadowing him.

We gave up trying to watch and photograph them, drove a few metres, and out of nowhere the Southern Pride appeared. They were very much on the move, patrolling and looking for hunting opportunities. The lionesses heard the elephants and waited to see if any prey species were flushed from the forest. In due course they made their way down an open track, sniffing, watching, assessing. Three of them lay down at the roadside for a rest, while the lead lioness continued hunting and the male followed her and announced his presence to the world with a terrific roar. What a way to start the morning! 

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide