Third safari and only one left of the big five to go. As usual, the only things we have left to see are those two elusive cats, the lion and leopard. The sun has been burning down, keeping all that moves in shadows of trees, big and small. Starting the safari we had little hope of spotting any of our desired animals, as the area they had been in the last few days were densely bushed and after the heat of the day, they would definitely be deeply tucked in under a tree and sleeping as if unconscious.

While we were moving towards the area, clouds moved in very subtly, almost unnoticed. That’s when the call came through that they had spotted the whole pride of lions in the same area as before. Mixed feelings flowed through our heads as we were happy that we knew where they were, but also stressed because of the density of the bush in that area. But we take the chance and hope for the best.

Getting into the area we saw them clearly from a distance away and the closer we got, the better it got. It ended up being in an old dam where the wall had broken, and the best position to park was on the old broken wall, giving us a bird’s eye view of all of them. Afterwards we saw some more lions on another open area and we were starting to feel more and more confident about what was to come.

Just as we moved out of the second sighting, the lightning started to dance above our heads. It started quickly and with scary ferocity. Being unsafe we made our way back to the lodge, amazed at the beauty of the lighting each time it lit up the cloud covered skies. It seemed to be a night where we might have missed the leopard, but we still saw two different dangerous, but amazingly beautiful things.

Jacques Beukes – Kapama River Lodge

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