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Botswana Day 3: Lions for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Another early start today, rising at 5:30a. This morning, however, there were LIONS. Standing in the outside shower of our tent, we watched the dominant male of the Tau Pan pride drinking from the waterhole for about 20 minutes.

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The dominant male headed our way and walked right between our tent and the tent next door. About that time, Vasco came to our tent to escort us to breakfast. He told us then that there were five intruder males headed toward camp. They had come to drive out the Tau Pan dominant male. This is most likely why we hadn't seen any lions yet. The females were off in hiding with their cubs because during a takeover, the new males sometimes kill the cubs of the prior male in order to send the females into heat. We arrived at the main tent for breakfast and could see the five lions making their way towards us, roaring and marking along the way. Hearing the sounds they made was chilling and exhilarating at the same time.

I thought back to the dominant male we had just seen a few minutes prior and felt sadness for him. He was at the end of his reign as there is no way for him to fight off that many intruders. He will have to move on by himself. These are the things about safari that are difficult for me.

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No one was interested in breakfast. After they walked thru, we jumped in the vehicles to follow. They were headed to the camp waterhole.

Camp in the background.
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At the watering hole, they continued their spraying and roaring, in between sips of water, of course.

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We watched this display for about an hour before they moved on and we returned to camp. We didn't stay long as we had a long day ahead. We were headed to Deception Valley, the area made famous by the book, Cry of the Kalahari. The animal spotting continued on our way.

Mongoose.
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Kudu.
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Oryx.
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Almost there.
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Black-backed jackal.
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More oryx. They were everywhere in the Kalahari.
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The road in the middle of nowhere.
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We stopped for lunch at a rest stop, with an actual bathroom, around 11:30a. It was still early but we were really suffering in the heat. Our lunch and drinks were kept in the "cooler box," an ice chest that plugged into the vehicle. Let's just say it was so hot that there was nothing cool coming out of that box. But we had a nice lunch of baked chicken, bean salad, pasta salad, fruit, cheese, and lukewarm drinks.

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The toilet seat was so hot I had to crouch on top of it to go to the bathroom.
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Just after lunch, Souper spotted a lion trying to escape the heat under a tree.
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Kori bustard.
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Springbok, the common antelope of the Kalahari. Each region of Africa has a common antelope. In Tanzania, it was impalas.
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We also visited the "lake" or at least what was left of it.
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Giraffe.
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Oryx grabbing the only bit of shade he can find.
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Kudu and a jackal as well. The animals find shade where they can in this part of Botswana.
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Oryx with babies.
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Ostrich.
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Our day was capped off with a sighting of five honey badgers, a pretty rare animal that many people never see on safari.
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We finally made it back to camp around 7p--very hot, very tired, and very dusty. A dinner of tomato cheese tartlet, chicken tarragon, brown rice, and ginger peas and carrots was served at the usual time. During our dessert of chocolate pear, the lions returned to the vicinity. They bid us good night with their roars.

Posted by zihuatcat 15:47 Archived in Botswana

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