A Lioness and Her Fans
An exhilarating sighting occurred at the Nkorho Pan on the evening of January 7, 2010. The Styx Pride of lions had been around the area for several days, made and devoured a recent kill and was back up and on the prowl once again. As the sun began to set, word was spread that the pride was heading toward the waterhole. All eyes were focused on every inch that the camera let us see. Folks were talking...minds were thinking. Would they change their minds and go another direction? Would they wait until the camera zoomie had left for the day? In the distance we saw jeeps filled with tourists and spotlights scanning an area too far from the camera to much more than the outline of a few lions as. Our hopes hung by a thread...would we get to see them up close?
The camera swung around and there she was...a magnificent lioness. The light from the jeeps highlighted her silhouette as she looked toward the camera, ever listening and watching for her next meal to present itself. She walked to the waterhole, took a long slow drink, lap after lap, then moved a few feet away and gracefully laid down to contemplate her next move. She looked relaxed, but every once in awhile she would raise her head as she caught a scent, perhaps the smell of the jeeps, the tourists, or the zebra that had bellowed and alarm not too long before.
The regal lioness, with the face of experience and strength stood up and began to walk away. Her muscles moved with each step, her silent feet stepping with assuredness. She paused several times and focused on something in the distance, not even moving an ear to stay as undetected as possible. She soon moved on and eventually faded into the distance as we all watched, leaving us to soak in every moment we had been privileged to see.
This lioness is part of the Styx Pride, a group of seven lions, compiled of different ages and personalities. They are on the top of the food chain, but have to fight every day to stay there. Hyenas and other predators will steal the lion’s kill of given the opportunity. Cubs are threatened not only by predators, but by male lions as well. Those that are lucky to make it to adulthood will take their place as kings of the territory until the next challenge they are faced with.
So we watched the lioness as she seemed almost content and subdued. Ever watchful, wary, and on the edge of instinct, the lioness and the rest of her pride will move away from the water hole in search of their next meal, leaving behind many happy Africammers as they realize they just experienced something even the luckiest of tourists may never get to see.
Thank you to our “zoomie” at Nkorho, Ms. Julia...thanks for sharing your wonderful world with us. Now sit back and enjoy what our fine lady in control of the camera found for us to watch...