Glorious Black-Maned Lions

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These majestic animals are found only within the confines of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. After days of searching we began to give up hope of finding one of these magnificent creatures, and then on our way back from the Botswana side of the park we were stopped by another vehicle claiming to have seen some lions about 7 kilometres back. Now at 100 kilometres an hour this is nothing, but at 40 kilometres an hour and searching frantically through the bush 7 kilometres is a huge distance. And after about 8 kilometres we began to give up all hope of seeing anything. Finally, after everyone had concluded that there was nothing to be seen and we’d gotten on our way looking for even more of the numerous steenbok, there they were. Lounging beneath a large bush was a large male and two female lions. You don’t quite appreciate the size of these animals until you see them up close and personal. I imagine one of the male’s paws was about the size of my face. This is certainly not something I would like to come across in a dark alley. Thrilled at this amazing sighting we went on our merry way back to Nossob camp. Early the next morning one of the rangers came up to our campsite and enthusiastically told us that there were lions and their cubs drinking from the permanent water hole situated just outside of the camp. Still half asleep and not even done with our first cups of tea and coffee, we ran to the hide (tea and all) which overlooks the water hole. There they were, two females, one with two large cubs and another with four smaller cubs, and a large male to boot. The hide was packed with people (some with much bigger lenses than mine). It was an amazing site, and even more so when one of the smaller cubs took a drink from one of the lionesses teats. This was a true African experience, a picture perfect moment beneath the African sunshine.

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