It was a relatively quiet week in Dambwa with the pride reverting back to their old ways on the 10th by hiding out in tall grass and a bush near water pan 1, and then moving deeper into Kariba later in the week. Despite the apparent stasis of their locations when we’ve been there it’s evident they’ve been doing plenty of motoring around the site in our absence and whilst counting game on the 13th we found recent tracks from them all over the site.
It looks as though they’ve been patrolling the Acacia boundary fairly frequently, whilst also roaming through Puku Dambo on their way past Chobe, Chisamu and Sahara. In fact it looks like they’ve been up to all sorts while we’re not around. But on the 13th they were very firmly rooted back in Kariba. As well as no movement, there was very little of anything to report as the girls spent the majority of the day sheltered in some thick shrubs. Zulu on the other hand was quite a different matter. We never got to the bottom of it but he seemed agitated over something. Every few minutes he’d shift his positions five or 10 metres North or South. Instead of sleeping he kept a keen eye out scanning the area (this time surveying the land rather than the skies for vultures). After almost two hours of this, he eventually succumbed and joined the girls in the shade.
Friday (15th), with big bellies, they were resting close to pan 1 in the afternoon. As they snoozed in the shade, we spent most of the afternoon watching as Zulu continually fondled Rusha’s derriere in his sleep.
Zulu & Rusha
As the sun started setting and we were preparing to leave Leya kicked off a sudden burst of activity amongst the pride. Heading over to partner in crime Kwandi for a greeting and a good groom, Temi soon joined them and the trio turned into one big tangle of lion legs, heads and other parts until it was impossible to tell where one started and the next lion began.
Temi, Leya & Kwandi with Zulu
As the group wriggled around they bumped against Zulu, who in turn bumped into Rusha who from a sleeping start latched herself onto Zulu’s face and the pair began wrestling like a couple of oversized and over-enthusiastic cubs. A welcome reminder that the hours of watching them sleep does eventually bring rewards!
Rusha & Zulu
Once all of the social necessities had died down, Kwandi led Rusha towards Pan 1 and Temi looked as though she was going to join too – but the “move” never got further than about 20 metres before returning to the others. But as they returned there were no more greetings, groomings or play - all of a sudden everyone was alert and single-minded. With the sun almost set and the pride clearly kicking into hunting mode we made ourselves scarce so that they could get on with business.