• Josh Beaton

Patience rewarded on Friday the 13th!

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

I am not the most superstitious person in the world, but I definitely do say an extra prayer for good luck on Friday the 13th. Luckily, having been so busy with safaris the last few months I have somewhat lost track of time and found out that it was the “dreaded” Friday the 13th, only once our safari had ended. Thankfully.

Our day started off pretty well with some lovely sightings of Buffalo and Elephant and the usual general game such as Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu and the ever present Impala. The sun was already starting to get warm and I knew it was going to be a scorching day as the sun got higher.

Once in the Kruger National Park, my target was Nsemani dam where the resident pride of Lions seemed to be enjoying of late. I knew that if we got there too late they would already be lying up in the shade and our sighting would be limited to a few ear and tail flicks in the long grass, if we even got that lucky. So, I took a chance and explained to my guests that we needed to drive a little bit faster than usual, as we had a very small window of opportunity as Nsemani dam is a long way from where we entered the park. As always my guests were keen to give it a try and so off we set in some haste to try reach our destination before the cats decided to make our lives difficult. Obviously being in the bush nothing is guaranteed and we could arrive to no lions at all but, you will never know unless you try and we had no other leads to follow so, off we went.

With great relief , a gentleman flagged us down and explained that the lions were indeed at Nsemani dam. This actually made things more stressful for me as now I knew they were there but we still had 10km to go before we got there and we were basically racing the sun. You see, if I had known the date I would have been even more tense to arrive at the sighting. So, we arrived at the dam at about 08:30am to find to my distress that the lions were indeed present but about 80m off the road lying up in the long grass enjoying the shade. So, all of that driving for nothing. We did get the odd glimpse of a tawny body through the bush and the odd tail flick but nothing too amazing. We tried to drive around to the other side of the dam and luckily this allowed us to get a decent, albeit far off visual of a “whole” lioness. This is where the choice becomes difficult, we could be patient and hang around until something MIGHT happen or we could move on and try our luck somewhere else. Having almost decided to move on, I had this feeling that we should drive back to our original position and perhaps we will get lucky as to me the lions did look a little restless.

So, off we went to our original position and luckily for us about 6 lions were now lying in the open but still a little far off. Myself and my guests were much happier with this as we could observe them nicely and enjoy a lovely sighting.

Things were about to get a whole lot more exciting when 2 old Buffalo bulls wondered past us straight towards the snoozing lions. All of a sudden there were about 20 lions popping up out of the grass to have a look at these new additions to the party. The Buffalo bulls saw them and a standoff ensued with the big bulls only metres from our vehicle. Eventually the bulls nerve broke and they trotted off and then stood watching the lions from a distance with us between them and the lions. To our utter enjoyment the whole pride of lions decided to investigate the bulls and walked straight towards us and then around us walking past our vehicles, giving us an amazing sighting of a pride of 20 lions on the move. The Buffaloes trotted off and the lions disappeared into the distance leaving us speechless.

So, once again we learn that a little bit of patience in the bush goes a long way. And always follow your instincts as; your instincts are usually right. An awesome and lucky sighting on an unlucky day.

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