lion• 28 comments •
Undeniably, the most exciting animals to see at Kruger National Park are the lions. Pretty much all the animals in Kruger can be seen in zoos around the world, but there's something incredibly thrilling about seeing a massive lion in the wild.
We went 3 days in a row without seeing any, and were starting to worry we wouldn't spot any at all. We were still grateful to see the other wildlife, but it was annoying to know that the lions were in the park, and that we hadn't seen them.
On the 4th morning, we left the gates of our base-camp at the crack of dawn. After about 10 minutes of driving we noticed an animal walking along the side of the road ahead of us. The shape, and the way it was walking, made it evident to both of us that our luck had turned. With the sun still lingering on the horizon, we captured a few disappointing photos but were in shock and awe of the beast that had strolled within inches of our vehicle.
The next day we headed off in the morning to leave the park. With the drive back to Johannesburg ahead of us, we knew we could hang around the park until noon, before we would need to leave for good.
Just before lunch we rounded a bend and found several cars stopped on the road. We approached and noticed that a group of lions were relaxing under trees.
As we watched, they walked across the road, between cars, sat affectionately with each other, nibbled on grass, and slept. These guys were significantly larger than our "friend" from the previous day. The behaviour of these cats was remarkably similar to that of the domestic variety; they couldn't have cared less that we were around.
We were so close that we could actually hear them "purring", but it was more of a deep rumbling noise. It might have been somewhat frightening if they weren't so lethargic.
This is our final post in our "Big Five" series - charging elephants, hidden leopards, unpredictable water buffalos, endangered rhinoceroses, and the majestic lion - we feel incredibly fortunate to have seen them all in their natural environment.