When I arrived on Sunday I set up my camp site and then went for a drive. The plan was to go stop at Mopani on the way back to buy charcoal and wood for my braai. Just before the turn off to Mopani I saw a few cars next to the road. I wondered what it could be. Then I saw it.
it was quite difficult to find a spot where there were no cars or dead branches in the way. I drove past the cars and found a spot where I could watch this stunning cat with as little as possible obstruction.
He seemed to relax for a bit, but then gave me a look.
Something must have caught his attention, because he was up in a flash and started to move further away from the road.
As dry as the bush was, it was still amazing to see how quickly he could disappear.
As is so often the case in Kruger, timing really is everything.
There were a couple of places in the area that I have never visited before, and on my first morning I headed to one of them. The route I took took my past Mooiplaas waterhole and Nshawu and Nshawu 3.
I turned off at Nshawu 3, and immediately my day was made.
The four hyenas were lying right next to the road.
I was so happy to see my second favourite mammal. I just love hyenas to bits.
I discovered what they were waiting for.
While some of the pride was feeding, the rest were scattered near by. I almost did not see the lioness at first.
A boy lion was looking rather lazy.
The lions were not going anywhere, so I went back to my favourite hyenas for a bit.
I am glad I did because a little while later they got up to see if they could sneak closer to the carcass.
Can any face be any more adorable?
They pretended to be relaxed, but every few minutes the heads would come up as if they were checking if it was time for breakfast yet.
I went back to the lions. There wasn’t much of the buffalo left, but a few lions were still trying to get the last scraps off the bones.
I think this young male will be an impressive male when he is fully mature. He certainly got the smouldering look right!
The lazy lion still continued to be lazy.
The Hyenas were not the only scavengers lurking about. I counted about four Black-backed Jackals in the area. The buffalo trundling past did not seem to bother the lions or the Jackals.
Lions were chewing on every part of the unfortunate buffalo’s carcass.
The best moment of this sighting belonged to a buffalo. There were a few buffalos near the kill. One massive bull walked very close to the one lioness.
He then circled back and went to lie down in front of the lioness.
When he got some re-enforcements he got up and walked away. It almost looked as if he purposefully stuck out his tongue at the lioness. I thought that if you looked up the definition of the word “badass” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of this buffalo next to it.
I couldn’t see much meat left on the skull of the buffalo, but the lion seemed to really enjoy what little was left.
I returned later that day. The lions were still there and the number of spectators had increased from the three vehicles in the morning to many more.
The lions had moved away from the carcass, and seemed somewhat interested in the crowd of animals that have gathered.
Can you spot the lion?
I think the crowd was just playing with them. The lions seemed interested, then lose interest, then seem interested again.
The hyenas and jackals were never far away.
Another hyena was chewing on the leftovers of the leftovers.
The next lion sighting was just before the Red Rocks Look Out. The majority of the pride was taking shelter from the heat under a tree.
One lioness was close to the road. I just loved how relaxed she looked.
On the Thursday morning I did not have any specific plans and headed north, not sure if I would turn left to Shipandani or right towards Mooiplaas waterhole. I slowed down at the intersection, mentally getting ready to flip a coin to decide which way to go, when another car stopped next to me and told me there was a pride of lions not far from the turn off to Mopani. The mental coin was put back in my pocket to use for another day, and I headed to the lions.
I spotted the pride not far from the road. There were two lionesses, a beautiful male lion, and about four cubs. It was still a little dark, but as I had no real destination in mind, I decided to spend some time with these lions. The one cub was so cute. And had a pretty little face.
It almost looks as if the cub is winking at me.
The lionesses and male lion were in prime condition.
It was obviously too early for this cub.
Every now and then the male lion would lift his head, stare in the direction of the cars, and flop down again.
The cub got up and walked over to his mom for a snuggle.
After some snuggling, it was time for another nap.
Even at a distance this cub’s eyes were extremely striking.
Another lioness also wanted to join the cuddle puddle.
The male lion was a handsome fellow.
Later that morning I found more lions about 1km from where I found these lions. They were a little far away, but it did not look like the same pride from earlier.
I could not complain about the wonderful cat sightings I had during this trip. It was much more than I had hoped for.
Scroll to top