I have been waiting to read this encounter between Warren and “the Lions’ since he messaged me during the event on his maiden photographic journey to the great Kalahari…………and have decided to share on my website as it just shows that Africa is a truly wild ………………….
About 1:30 am I awoke to the sounds of Hyenas in the distance, although clearly it was not this sound that had woken me. Very quickly I hear the distinct sound of the male lions “cough”, very close to my tent. My 2 mates who had joined me had also woken and had called to me that there were lions outside to which I whispered to them to keep silent. One of the guys , my mates cousin was on his first trip to a game park and was his first night. He had never even pitched a tent before…
Soon I felt tugging and pulling on my tent. I was uncertain of what was going on and then realised that it was probably cubs that were being nosey. but then they got a little too nosey and were chewing on the ropes of my tent, severing it and causing it to collapse a good section of the tent, then they were tugging on the air mattress as the bulge was sticking through the tent.. a very frightening thought so early in the morning and in pitch darkness. I remember my heart was racing and my mouth was dry and I could barely breathe.
after a while I noticed the cubs were chewing on the zips and heard one of them give way, this being the cover of the tent, as well they were having a right good time with other apparel that we had at camp… I had a small tear in the fabric of the fly screen, maybe 10cm vertically, and when I could see that the cubs were finding some interesting to have a look at through the rip I was scared they would rip it further so I kept flashing my flashlight at them though this gap.. this seemed to scare them off and they disappeared. However I think the disturbance got the interest of the large male and he came to have a look, pushing at least half of his head into the tent through the rip making it now over half a meter. I took my flashlight and was going to shine it on and off in his eye to try and blind him a bit, but at the time actually hit him on the face just above the eye. after that he left me to some small amount of peace.
About 10 minutes or so passed and I called to my mate in the tent next to me to see if they had all left and he said that there was still a male laying not far from my tent. Not having heard anything in 5 minutes I asked again, to which he said the same thing. Thinking he may be having a laugh with me I had a look out the tent and the coast looked clear. I climbed out and shone the torch around, not realising that in fact his tent faced the opposite direction to mine, and true as bob there about 2m from where I was standing was the male lion having a sit down just staring at me. I did not even think and just made a dash for the vehicle which was parked just off the other side of camp. I then started the engine and drove around to the tents where the male was, he got up and walked off. I then took a quick drive around Rooiputs with the spotlight and saw a group of cubs about the size of a border collie and a group of females and another male, about 12 or so in total based on the number of eye reflections at the time.
After that I got my mates and we drove to have a look but only the one male was still about and one of the cubs in the long grass.
The next day we checked out of Rooiputs in fear of another 2 nights that we had booked. However our fear slowly left us a few days later and we spent our last 2 nights of the Kgalagadi back at Rooiputs, although I did sleep in the car as I felt that having a half meter rip in the door of my tent was just not a grand idea for Rooiputs.The first morning of our stay back we actually saw the pride on the horizon at sunrise and managed to get some magical photographs and also had the big male that I believe visited me sitting just a few meters from us in the long grass just half a kilometre for camp.
Hope you enjoyed my story, if sounds like a lot of fun, but I can tell you I would never wish to go through this again. But in a way glad I did.
Thanks for reading Warrens Story and keep a look out for the Rooiputs Lions
Peace and Light – AA