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Close encounters in the wild

Close encounters in the wild

Listen to the lion roar
Listen to the lion roar


BY : Eddy Everaerdt

 Day five of a 17 day safari in Moremi, Botswana, with 12 French clients. I could feel that the clients were thinking I was greatly exaggerating the dangers of the bush. That evening we were camping and having dinner at Xini Lagoon. The clients being French, the wine was flowing and all were happy.

 One couple had their 16 year old daughter with them and she felt tired and wanted to go to bed early. I asked her to wait and first had a sweep around with my spotlight. Not ten metres from the tables six lionesses were walking in line towards the water.

 It took a lot of persuasion to keep everyone seated and quiet but luckily only the last female stopped and looked us over. You could see her thinking ‘Worth investigating?’ She saw her sisters walking away and decided to stay with them.

 Dinner was cut short, as suddenly all the clients felt tired… I must admit that I thanked the lions for giving me an early night and after dishes went to sleep also.

 Early morning during breakfast we heard a male lion calling from far, so we took the game-viewer and went hunting for it. About a kilometre from camp we found a male  walking on a mission, but far away. I told the clients that further on the road took a bend and with luck we might get closer.

 Here, we found three other males looking at number four arriving. Two lions got up, giving us a frightening look, but with them now greeting and sniffing, the clients were asking to move the vehicle to get better pictures. The lions were visibly not pleased with the movement and noise. I jokingly told the clients that these lions were close to our camp and they would take their revenge tonight for disturbing them. Big ‘hahaha’s.

 That evening, all quiet in camp, dinner was again a quick business as many thought about the night before and wanted to be safe in their tents instead of around the campfire. I happily retired also. I had not finished one page of my book when, not a metre from my bed, a male lion roared full blast. I had had this experience once before when I stood next to a huge speaker during a rock concert: my whole body trembled with the sound. Immediately after this first roar the three other males joined in from the other corners of the camp.

 For one and a half hours those four males tried to roar us away. The sound was tremendous and I found it a wonderful end to the day, but in the morning the clients had another view. They assured me that from then onwards they would always listen to what the guide told them and would I please not disturb any lions any more.