There is no finer way to be awoken than the gentle call of a man telling us that our coffee is waiting outside. The girls had hot chocolate and we had hot coffee while we gently wiped away the sleepy dust and prepared for breakfast. The birds were having some major debate between their nests and the river was running wild and furious. To perfect matters even further two elephants were frolicking and tousling in the river, quite obviously revelling in the refreshing cool water. After a breakfast of fresh pineapple and poached eggs we were ready to climb aboard the safari truck, once again.
Morning in the park is different from sunset. The animals all seemed frisky and we were greeted by a spectacular flock of crested crane. We crossed our fingers for lion but didn’t hold out too much hope after the few cars we passed told us that they has seen nothing. The amazing thing about this park is that most of the time we are all alone. 3 vehicles is considered a traffic jam. After three hours of driving we were heading back to camp after an wonderful morning of elephant sightings and we were slightly disappointed about the lack of lions, but still feeling satisfied with our first safari experience. All of a sudden, my eagle eyed husband spotted something in a tree. Could it be?
We pulled out the binoculars and confirmed that it was indeed lions and as a bonus the tree where they were lying was right on the track. We slowly approached, with warnings to the girls not to squeal or make any sound. What we discovered was not just lions, but two females and a male. Male lions generally never climb trees, it is too cumbersome for them as they weigh too much and are not as agile or lithe as their female mates. Here was a male in a tree and Dave, our trusty and informative guide expressed some amazement, having never seen this before. Once we came close to their tree the male spotted us and started to come down. At this point my heart started beating. It was one thing to know where he was but once he was on the ground and hidden by bush, he could jump out and chase us at any time. Our truck had no walls, doors or windows and we were highly exposed. With his foot remaining just above the gas pedal, Dave waited while I took photos from my perfect spot just below the lioness. After some moments observing and snapping away we drove off amazed and grateful for our luck.
On the way back to camp, with our hearts full, we came upon a group of 8 elephant bulls. We stopped for awhile to watch and as we did they slowly approached us until they were a mere 20 feet away. Before we knew it they were ambling with their heavy gait towards our car and before our widening eyes they crossed the road infront of us.
It was a privilege to have had such close access to magnificent wild animals and we returned to camp knowing full well that our luck had turned.