Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lions and small tents

Many years ago I was doing camping tours in Namibia. We would spend a little time in Botswana in those days. In Botswana we often camped at a wild campsite called Serondela (don't know spelling???) It was a great time.

We would come from Namibia, pick up a Botswana guide before going into the park. For the new two days the guide would do all the guiding, and I would be left with my camp assistant to manage the campsite.

In the mornings we would prepare coffee/tea/etc for the guests before they would leave for game drive. They would be out for about 3.5 hours before coming back for a brunch.

After the guests would leave, we would quickly work to prep the brunch, then pack it away in a trailer (there were legendary baboons in those days - they got to everything.)

After that we would have a couple hours to kill, and we were seriously into birding (still am.) My camp assistant and I would start working our way through the campsite, looking for birds.

On this particular day we noticed that there was a small tent people still in it. We noticed that there were lion track around, but that's normal for Serondela.

As we walked closer the couple in the tent called out to us, saying we should not be walking around. It was now properly daylight and there had been a number of vehicles driving past. We told them it was fine. But they insisted. Finally we went to chat to them to find out what was going on.

It turned out that in the night a lion had been walking along the road through the campsite. A kudu had come up from the river, through some bushes on the edge of the campsite and literally walked into the lions right next to their tent!

The lion had killed the kudu and spend the rest of the night right next to these peoples small tent. In the morning it dragged what remained of the kudu away into the bush as people woke up. It took us some time to convince the couple in the tent that it was now safe to get up. When they came out of their tent they gathered it up, without packing anything - still with the sleeping bags and their personals inside, pushed it into their car, and left.

I seriously hope that they overcame that shock to return to Africa, but it was certainly an amzing experience for us, and a bit of a reminder to be a bit careful in the African Bush!!

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