Well, there are actually many reasons why I love living in Kruger. But I am so excited about what happened this morning that this is my favourite for now. Even as I am writing this, my adrenaline is still flowing! So, let me tell you what happened…
Today is voting day. A day for South Africans to stand in long queues and wait for their turn to vote for the party of their choice. Well today is like any other day for me. I am Dutch, so I am not allowed to vote. Which is fine by me. The boys did not have to go to school today, so we were spending a quiet morning at home.
A lion roaring close by suddenly interrupted our quiet morning! The impressive sound reverberated even inside our living room! And when I say close, I mean very close! “ Lions!!” I yelled and I jumped up. Alex and Jack looked at me slightly puzzled. I heard the monkey’s alarm call earlier on and the squirrels were also calling. Now I knew why. That lion was right here!
I quickly grabbed my small ‘mik en druk’, locked the boys inside the house and quietly walked up to our front gate. I could not see anything from there, but I heard the plover’s alarm call to my right. I softly walked over to our neighbour’s garden. There is a gully that runs past their yard so maybe the lions were in there.
I stood by their fence in the far corner and scanned the surrounding bush. Then I noticed a reddish brown shape, about 75 meters away. One of those ‘could be a termite mount – could be a male lion’ kind of shapes. I am sure you know exactly what I am talking about. It happens so often: A rhino turns into a rock, an owl turns into a branch… I call those sightings rock-rhino’s and branch-owls. Haha. I stared at the unidentified shape intently and all of a sudden I saw it move! Definitely not a termite mount then!
I quickly walked over to call my neighbour. When we got back to the corner of her yard, the male lion was staring at us over a bush. His ears were down in alarm. Lions really do not like seeing people on foot. And he quickly ran off, followed by another, younger male. But we had such a nice view of him! “Oh my word we just saw lions from our front yard!!” I phoned my friend Richard from Holland to tell him about my extraordinary find.
I still cannot believe our luck!! And you know what? I have a suspicion that it was the N4 lion, the South Shishangeni male that came to visit us this morning. I did not see his tail tip, which he is missing. But we are at the edge of his territory. I have seen him a few hundred meters from Malelane Gate before, and I don’t know of any other big-maned male lions in our area, so I can only assume it was him. Which is even more exciting!!
So ja… this is why I love living in Kruger National Park! Where else do you have elephants, porcupine and tortoises in your garden, leopards and hyena’s that walk past the fence and famous lions that roar next to your house in the morning!