The second male to appear was a beautiful specimen

Memorable lion sighting near Skukuza, 3 August 2014

It was late afternoon on the 3rd of August, and the sun was slowly setting on our first day back in the Kruger National Park. We were enjoying a leisurely drive along the Sabie River, taking in the deep calming atmosphere that comes with sunset in a magnificent natural setting like this, about 5km from Skukuza Rest Camp.

Unexpectedly, a young elephant ran across the road towards the river, trumpeting loudly and shaking his ears and trunk around, clearly extremely agitated. From a short side loop, we watched as he flushed a pride of lions from the reeds, quite some distance from the road.

The young elephant that started the show

The young elephant that started the show

Noticing that the lions will now be making their way towards the road, we anticipate where they’ll be moving out of the river bed and position our vehicle in that spot. We have to wait only a minute or two before noticing the first feline shapes appearing among the riverine vegetation, much closer to the road already. The lions are coming, and they are heading straight for us!

One by one, the entire pride of about fifteen animals, including three magnificent males, pass right beside us, crosses the road and moves into the bush on the opposite side. We watch enthralled from inside our vehicle as the big cats move by close enough to stroke (though of course, that would be very foolish to even attempt!).

(You can click on the photos to view them in a gallery, for a bigger view – we’re sure you won’t be sorry that you did 😉 )

Kruger welcomed us back in the most emphatic way imaginable. What else did it have in store for us in the nine days ahead? We hope you’ll join us again to find out!

 

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43 thoughts on “Memorable lion sighting near Skukuza, 3 August 2014

  1. Pingback: Remembering a special lion sighting | de Wets Wild

  2. Pingback: Skukuza Rest Camp, Kruger National Park | de Wets Wild

  3. oururbanwilderness

    Oh! What a wonderful start to your viewing. Interesting that one elephant did the flushing. The details in the close up pix are great – the scars, that amazing ‘yawn’ showing worn canine, and love the grizzled expressions; nice to see the range in age of the different members. Looks like a family who’ve been chased out of bed a little too early.

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  4. Pingback: Winter in Kruger, Skukuza August 2014 | de Wets Wild

  5. Amy

    One by one,…. and you guys were watching them. What an awesome experience. Glad you answered Helen’s question, Can’t believe I missed your recent posts. And, I thought you are on the road….

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We’re in between trips at the moment Amy; we’re planning on being back in Kruger in 4 weeks time, but memories like this makes a month feel awfully long to wait 😀

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  6. M-R

    I’m thrilled to see the youngish males: seems to mean continuity, to me (although I’m probably talking through my hat). Your galleries are absolutely mind-blowing, de Wets – you must be as pleased as punch !!!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      It is rather amazing that the two older males tolerate the younger one M-R, which probably means there must be some blood-bond between them (maybe he’s a brother a year or two younger from a subsequent litter), as normally young males would be ejected by the pride males as soon as they reach maturity.

      Thank you for the kind compliment also 🙂 . This was a particularly grand sighting and we feel very privileged to have been in the right spot at the right time!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Oh Rosemarie, we expected that would happen after your visit :-). Once wild Africa has crawled under your skin, you are hooked!

      On an entirely unrelated subject, you’ll soon be a grandchild richer, won’t you?

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      1. Rosemarie

        Yes. My daughter’s due date is September 7. This is the first grandchild on both sides of the family. A boy. I’m having a car seat installed in my car this weekend. I will be doing some weekly babysitting.

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  7. Helen C

    Amazing!!! A stupid question: why didn’t lions attack you guys? I mean as long as you stay in the car, are you 100% safe? Thanks for the wonderful photos! Can’t wait for next post! Have a great day. Helen

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Hi Helen!

      Thanks for the warm compliment and not a stupid question at all!

      Indeed, being inside the vehicle we’re perfectly safe. From time to time they do puncture a tyre or a car’s bodywork with a well placed inquisitive bite though; luckily this hasn’t happened to us (yet 😉 ) but we have seen it happen and we’ve even seen a family sedan with four adult occupants being pulled by the bumper by a big male lion – they are incredibly strong.

      The thinking is that the lions don’t recognise the humans inside the vehicle. Getting out of the vehicle could be a different situation all together, triggering the lions’ fight-or-flight response when they suddenly see a human appear “out of the blue”.

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