Four big boys near the river…Safari luck prevails…

The four lions had a destination in mind…a recent kill.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This kudu had an anomaly in the markings of dark circles around her eyes.

Having an opportunity to take photos of lions out in the open is rare and unexpected. Yesterday morning on a whim, we took off for the river road overlooking Crocodile River between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

They walked along the river embankment, single file but not too close to one another.

As we approached the “Two Trees” overlook, a regular spot for sighting lions and other giant beasts across the river, we knew we were going to see lions as we approached several vehicles in the parking lot.

Each of the four male lions was obviously on a mission.

Prepared to stretch ourselves to spot a lion or two, often hidden under trees or between craggy rocks and ravines, we were shocked to easily see the four lions with the naked eye walking on the embankment out in the open.

It was a rarity to see them out in the open like this.

We squealed with delight. This easy sighting was truly a first. Weather conditions were right, overcast and dark, and the lions weren’t hiding in the shade as we often discover.

They were moving at a good clip.  We had to change our location to continue seeing them.

Keeping in mind, it’s quite a distance from the fence to their location. I maneuvered my way down a ridge to get as close as possible to the fence. As mentioned in earlier posts, there are two fences one must navigate to get a clear shot into the park.

Finally, they reached the kill, perhaps left behind by another lion.

One of the fences has barbed wire every 15 cm (6 inches), which requires caution when using the wire as a guide to steady the camera for the distant shot. Set further out from the barbed wire is the electrified fence which doesn’t present any risks based on its distance from the barbed wire.

It was difficult to ascertain exactly what animals had been killed.

I commend whoever designed the layout of the two fences. It certainly allows amateur photographers like me to use the barbed wire fence as temporary support to steady the camera.

We, amateur photographers, need all the help we can get in shooting distant photos, especially in cases like ours with less than ideal cameras and lenses.

The four lions didn’t stay at the kill for long.  It could have been decayed or already eaten.

As we took photo after photo, we were in awe of what lies before our eyes once again. But, this time was special. This time was unique. We thought about Tom and Lois and how much they’d have loved seeing these four male lions in plain sight. Hopefully, they’ve recovered from their long travel day(s) and will see this post sometime today.

Last night we had another delightful evening at Jabula Lodge, this time dining with new friends/readers Rita and Gerhard.  The conversation was lively and animated as Rita and I chatted like long-lost friends, and Gerhard and Tom did the same.
One by one, they wandered off, searching for other opportunities.

We’re excited they’ll be staying in Marloth until February, minus a few weeks away for other plans and, we look forward to many more get-togethers with them.

This morning we’d hope to have breakfast at Steop Cafe when we had a few grocery items to pick up for tonight’s dinner at Spar in Komatipoort. Alas, Steop Cafe is closed on Sunday, much to our surprise so we hurried through the market and returned home.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled for these out-in-the-open photo ops.

I’ve already prepared the dinner, which only requires oven time an hour before we dine. Tonight now that it’s clear and sunny again, should be a fantastic night on the veranda.  

Hopefully, many of our wildlife friends will stop by. So far today, we’ve had visits from female and male bushbucks and some exciting birds but no one else. The park is packed with visitors this weekend which once they begin to leave, will increase the number of visitors we see in the garden.

May you have an excellent day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2017:

Tom’s early morning view of the moon setting on the horizon on Costa Rica, taken from the veranda. For more photos, please click here.

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