On Tuesday afternoon we headed out for our afternoon game drive our aim the four sub-adult female lions. Before we left River Lodge I had mentioned to my guests
(a wonderful family from Israel) that the lions were going to be really difficult to find, the reason for this being they hadn’t eaten for about three days and therefore really hungry.
When lions are hungry and are keen to eat they can cover huge areas searching for prey this makes looking for them really difficult but when its left to the professionals (i.e. Brett and Rodgers ) its made a little easier. But none the less back to the lions, about twenty minutes into the drive we found what we thought was fresh spoor (tracks) on the edge of a well used road which makes it difficult to differentiate between fresh and old tracks. We stopped our vehicle got out and started working the tracks we followed them for about five minutes when I realized this could be a whole afternoon of tracking I then gave my hand radio to Rodgers my tracker and asked him to follow the tracks while I went back to the vehicle. Once back on the road myself and Rodgers were in constant communication. While I circled the block looking for more tracks, Rodgers followed the others through the block we did this for a long while all the time following the basic principles of tracking these being if you lose the trail circle back and start from the last one you had,
Eventually we got word that there were some Rhinos nearby they were relaxed and at a water hole drinking. I decided to leave the area of the lions for a while and go and view the rhino’s this was a really great sighting with a female rhino and her calf having a drink after having a wallow we could see this by the mud that was smeared on the side of the rhino. After a short time these two very large grey animals moved off and we eventually lost the visual.
Once we had left the area of the rhinos we moved back to the trail of the infamous lions, mean while all the time we were away from trail Rodgers was getting even hotter on the trail, the tracks were getting crisp and the grass was still moving from the foot steps of the size paws of four female lions. Once we saw this we knew they were nearby just a few more steps and we should have them. So forward we go the tracks eventually pop out onto another road here it looks like they started running maybe we were going to see the cats on a kill. Soon after this the tracks became more relaxed again. We then found a place were it looked like they lay down.
Now two hours had past and many steps have been walked we were getting towards sunset the light was getting low and it was getting dangerous to keep walking. Just as Rodgers was picked up by the vehicle just around the next corner over the hill there they were all four lions laying resting after a long day and night of hunting but with no success. Well this followed by a great sundowner took us to the end of the great day of tracking the lions….
Story by: Brett Leask- Kapama River Lodge Ranger