Cooling Off

The following was Posted by web keepers of  Chobe Under Canvas on 15 September 2009.  I can only assume this was written by one of their guests. Events like this make you want to be there!

Lion cub in the grass - Photo Copyright P. B. Eleazer

Lion cub in the grass - Photo Copyright P. B. Eleazer

Taking a boat cruise on the Chobe River or driving along its waters edge can bring about many surprises.

Recently after getting off the boat which we used to cruise the calm waters of the Chobe River we made our way towards camp at a slow meandering pace. Driving along the riverfront and enjoying the scenery and landscape scattered with general plaines game. We came upon another game viewer with guests and as per the norm our guide conversed with the other guide as to what they had spotted that afternoon. The look on the other guides face told us that he had not seen very much although he had seen tracks of lions with cubs.

No sooner had our guide bid the guide farewell and started to move off he stepped on the break and started to reverse the car. “Hold on everyone and keep your vioces down, I have something to shown you.” After retreating only a few meters from where he had originally stopped he slowed the vehicle and pointed to a bush just off the road. There lay a lion cub peeking out at us from below the low hanging branches of the bush. A small growl to warn us and then a sprint out from under the branch to dive into the next bush.  After a few more little growls two cubs came rolling out from under the bush and proceeded to chase and tag each other.

Watching to see if there were any more cubs lying hidden we waited. After only a few minutes a lioness made an enterance into our sighting, looking straight at us and with a look of complete superiority. A low call and the cubs stopped in their tracks while a sencond female wonders out from just beyond the first. Looking straight at us she moved toweards the cubs who seemed more focused on stalking each other than their approaching mother.

A call from the second lioness and out pops a third cub, slightly smaller than the first two but as full of energy. At full run the cub leaps at the other two and all three go rolling through the dust while both lionesses look on and walk steadly towards the playful threesome. Catching the movement of the lionesses the cubs turn their attention and stalking capabilities towards the approaching females. Rumps in the air and tails twitching in anticipation all three cubs watching the approaching adults. The youngest and less experience of the three takes off first at full speed only to be swept aside by the large adult lioness. Bounding through the dust only to receover and bounce after the advancing lionesses. The other two cubs wait a fraction longer than their younger pride mate before they too are crouching close to the ground waiting for the adults to get a bit closer than their counterpart did.

The lionesses keep walking as if not seeing their young take ambush and stalk towards them. Walking side by side they make their way to the waters edge.  Stopping close to the edge both females gaze across the floodplains before dropping to their bellies to take their first drink of cool water of the afternoon. The cubs take off and run straight at the lionesses, one jumping onto the first females back while the other completely miss judges its distance and lands on the head of the closest lioness only to bonce over the top and inot the shallows of the cool waters of the Chobe Rivers. Squeals from the cubs, growls from the females the drenched cub lifts itself out the water and sulks onto the dry bank. A lesson learnt and a drenching as a reward.

Travel Tips Learned from the story:

  • Just because one bush drive doesn’t see game, does not mean you will not.
  • Park guides have excellent vision
  • Patience (and a little silence) pays off!

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