Anyway - this is a quick recap of our last morning in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in December 2013...
Since we would be leaving the park on this day, I left Twee Rivieren early for a quick drive up the Nossob river towards Kij Kij and back, while my wife and kids slept in a bit and packed the rest of the small stuff in the chalet.
I found lions at Rooiputs waterhole - a small pride consisting of a lioness and 4 juveniles (males and a female). The lioness looked like she was nurturing a few wounds, no doubt picked up in a recent scrap. They looked fairly relaxed at the outset...but it was about to change...
Just as they were about to drink again, I spotted a big male lion approaching from further up the Nossob riverbed.
I initially thought he might be this pride's male returning from his nightly patrol...but as soon as these lions at the waterhole caught scent/sound of the approaching male - they went into panic mode!
The lioness sprang to her feet and rushed up and scooted south in the riverbed (in the direction I came from), running at brisk pace to get away before being noticed by the approaching male.
The cubs followed suit...and I could somewhat piece together what had probably happened that night. He was definitly not their pride male!
This male must have been on their tracks for a while, he might even have been responsible for the gash on the lioness hind leg...why? Who knows - perhaps because it's his region and they are not his cubs? The lion family disappeared from view just as the male caught their scent - he knew something was up...
He moved around the area for a while before finally having the drink he came for, and moving into the dunes...
This was one of those sightings that didn't deliver any outstanding photographs, but it was a very memorable moment of natural history and lion behaviour that I was able to witness. The dynamics between different prids of lions is always full of tension and drama, and this morning I think the lioness and her family came off the better for it. It also leaves some questions...
Why were they alone and without a pride male?
Why were they afraid of this specific male?
Why was the large male alone, was he a nomad that had been dethroned from his pride?
Nature is fascinating.
The Kalahari is fascinating.
You should make a plan to visit it!