One of my favourite things to do when I get home after picking up the boys from school at the end of the day is to have a little glass of wine and watch the sunset. It is so beautiful in front of our garden at the moment. And sitting outside by our front door watching the Kruger, our backyard, is so relaxing!
On one afternoon last week, I had just walked outside with my sparkling wine when I heard the impala’s snorting in alarm. Not only were the impala’s alarm calling, but so were the squirrels and the francolins. Something was up! There was definitely a predator in the area.
I called Steven who was inside putting a story on for the boys. “Come let’s go and see” he said after listening to the impala’s and he started walking. I wasn’t exactly dressed for a walk in the bush, but followed my husband out the gate wearing my long red dress and flip-flops, glass of wine in hand.
We weren’t even 15 meters from the house when Steven said: “What is that?” And he pointed at a yellowish, tawny shape about 100 meters ahead of us. I immediately saw what he meant. It stood out clearly in the midst of all the green. Mmmm, it was a bit hard to see what it was at first. Could be an impala? But why were all the impala’s snorting then…? And then I saw what it was. “That, my lovie, is a lioness!!”
The lioness stood there looking at us while we were standing still looking at her. Then our neighbour and his friend came up behind us. They had also heard the impalas and saw us out in the veld looking at something. The movement of the two young men behind me spooked the lioness and she ran away. Luckily they had a glimpse of her before she bolted.
“How cool was that! A lion so close to the house!” Excitement all round. Steven pointed at a termite mount to our left. “Let’s quickly see if we can still see her from there.” He said. The three of us followed Steven closely as we made our way there. I have walked many kilometres in Kruger, but felt like a fish out of water now having to hike up my dress with my one hand and my still untouched glass of wine in the other.
The termite mount we climbed on top of is clearly visible from our house and I have often wondered what the view would be like from up there. Well, it did not disappoint. We had a stunning view of the area around the house from there! I looked back at the house and was amazed at how close to our home that lioness had actually been. We definitely need to keep a close eye on our boys with our gate still busted and unable to close.
We had left in such a hurry that none of us had thought to bring any binoculars. This made it a bit difficult to spot the lioness again, but eventually I saw her lying down under a bush. She had not moved far when she ran, and she looked quite relaxed. Which was a good thing, because apart from the little knobkerrie our neighbour brought, we had nothing to defend ourselves with.
Then another movement from the left caught my eye. It was a hyena! A hyena on a mission! She was walking in the direction of the lioness, occasionally standing still to sniff the air. We were all anticipating a confrontation between the lion and the hyena, but instead, the hyena rushed forward, picked up a half eaten impala carcass that we did not know was there, and disappeared with it’s prize. The lioness had just lost her kill!
The sun was slowly making its way to the horizon behind us. And I sommer had my glass of wine right there on top of the termite mount, taking in how lush and green the bush looked after all the rain we had in the past few weeks. We truly live in a magical and wild place! A place where you can see the big five from the house! And we will never, ever take that for granted!