This morning's walk was a lesson in tracks and poo, or spoor as
it's technically known (poo's so much better. I feel that it captures
the smell better). We saw a few impala and warthog but the 'big
5' were elusive. Garth showed us tracks of lion,
and also excretions of them and others. We did get to see one of
the 'little 5', a leopard tortoise on the walk. Well, we saw its
shell anyway, the owner was long gone.
The big 5 are leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant. The little
five are the rhino beetle, leopard
lion and another two that I've forgotten!
We've been told that we're going to be kicked out of our camp. They need to do some work building a new septic camp and so we need to move elsewhere. Now the new camp is, Garth says, either 'very basic' or 'quite luxurious'. We'll soon find out...
We saw giraffe, waterbuck and the rhino
mum and calf again and a pair of lions on the drive round to the
new camp. To say that it's luxurious would be a slight understatement.
We've got our own swimming pool, breakfast room, bar, dining
room - inside and outside, lounge...
the list goes on and there's only the three of us in the whole place!
I've got my own room
again, this time with ensuite bathroom. Garth's not best pleased,
and is, "wandering around like a lost fart". I get the
feeling that he'd much rather be back in the tents. I'd normally
agree, however it's the last few days of my trip and I think that
I'm fully entitled to enjoy any and all luxuries that are thrust
my way. It's a hard life, but someone's got to do it!
Tracking lions was this afternoon's task. Garth knew that there was a lioness
with two cubs and the pair of lions that we'd seen on the way over
to camp in the area. It was now just a matter of tracking them down.
Now the books will tell you that lions are most protective and aggressive
when a) looking after young and b) when mating and here we were
wandering around in knee high grass, looking for them! To say that
it was exciting would be a massive understatement. Despite being
able to follow the lioness and cubs fir quite a way, we never managed
to find them. We did here the mating couple, erh, mating and Garth
did his level best to find them for us.
And find them he did. He instructed us to 'stop' and 'crouch' as
he spotted the pair 40 metres off in the tall grass. "We'll wait
here", he said, "They'll have a another go in fifteen minutes or
so. I really want you to see them mating". Lions will mate over
twenty times a day when in the mood, every quarter of an hour or
so, before resting for a couple of hours. They had obviously had
a busy day because they still hadn't felt like giving us a show
after half an hour and rather cramped limbs all round. "Shall I
go and provoke them?", Garth asked. Slowly edging towards them,
the male caught site and smell of him. All we saw was an enormous
head and mane raise out of the grass and stare at us. The lioness
then also popped her head up, took a look at us and the pair bolted
off into the bush. Again, I was too petrified to want to risk taking
The Nguni language which is applicable to the Zulu, Xhosa, Smangaam,
Ndebele and Siswati peoples has three words for Lion. Ngala
(pronounced 'in-gala') means lion. A male lion is an Ndoda
(pronounced 'In-doh-da') is a male lion and a lioness is
Mfazi (pronounced 'um-far-zi').