By Johnson Ntimane (Guide)
It is so great to have the lodge open again and even better to have guests visiting us once more. I spent last week guiding a family of 4 guests from South Africa. The children were 7 and 9 years old, and they were very excited to see lions as they had never seen them in the wild before! I spoke with my tracker, Phineas, so that we could hatch a plan about where would be a good idea for us to drive around to have the best chance of picking up the tracks of the lions. We had been driving for about an hour to an hour and a half and finally we were lucky – Phineas picked up the tracks of one adult female lion with two sub-adult lions from the Garonga pride! The Garonga Pride has 9 lions who are in the pride but as the cubs are getting older it is becoming more common to see the pride separating into smaller groups when they hunt. When we found the tracks Phineas stopped me and explained to the children what we had found. The children were so excited that we could start to follow in the footsteps of lions.
Lion tracks in the sand – time to start tracking!
Life in the bush is exciting and unpredictable – nothing is a certainty, but we promised the family that we would try our best to find these lions for them. With a look at each other and a nod of our heads, Phineas and I started to follow the tracks and after a few minutes we decided it would be best to divide and conquer – Phineas would continue to follow the tracks on foot and I would go around the block with the vehicle to check whether the lions had already crossed the road. Just as I had decided that the lions must still be inside the block, Phineas called me on the radio to come back because he had managed to find the lions! Phineas gave me directions to find him and the lions and the guests were practically bouncing on their seats with anticipation.
Unsure what all the fuss is about the lions waited patiently for us to get into a position where we could see them! ©Johnson Ntimane
We were finally in the sighting and the guests were overjoyed. We had found the lions whilst they were taking a break from hunting. They were resting but the lioness in particular was very alert. She stayed focussed on something in the bushes that we couldn’t see – maybe it was something she was hoping to hunt! We spent a lovely afternoon with the lions and the guests loved getting to see them in the wild for the very first time (to find out more about the Garonga Pride click here!). As a guide you never get tired of being able to share these experiences with your guests. Eventually we left the lions to go and have some sundowners and celebrate a successful game drive. There is nothing quite like watching a sunset to help you to reflect on the special moments and experiences that safaris give to people!