Lions of northern Botswana


It’s early in the morning in the Okavango delta, and Botswana summer is slipping into autumn. Elephants and impalas are feeding under the Marula tree, shaking dawn showers of ripe Marula fruits. Soon the impalas rut begins, filling the air with clack and clash as the males duel for dominance. Seated in an open Land Cruiser, out on a game drive, bumping dawn the sandy trails of willies pan trails in Kwara concession, Okavango delta.

The dew has not yet dried, the air is cool, the sky is faultless blue as we cross the shallow valley where zebras are moving through the scattered thorn thickets, tearing the grass with black velvet muzzles.

On the far side of the valley we pass a sausage tree, it’s trunk is rubbed smooth by passing elephants and buffaloes. The Okavango is a heritage sight that was set aside as wildlife conservation area between the common lands, and Moremi game reserve. Next morning we are off into the bush again, me at the wheels wrapped in an old khaki coat to off the dawn chill.

The Wayei, an offshoot of the Veikuhane nation, well known as the Basubia, Arebthe besttrackers and the Okavango delta is their home. We crossed the main channel called Mwananjira (Maunachira) channel to the other side using dug out canoe to an island called Sycamore fig island or well known as Footsteps island, where we started looking for lions.

As soon as we jumped out of the safari jeep, we located tracks that was heading towards the flood plains of killing fields overlooking Shinde camp to the south.

As we were following the track, we came to see one big male lion with one female who were a bit shy and scantish at first glance. They were ducking under the wicked hooks of the buffalo thorns and we decided to give them space and time of which they ended up relaxing in an open area overlooking the killing fields flood plains.

These animals are extraordinary animals that are simple and gorgeous freak of nature, a hiccup in the gene pool which occasionally produces an animal with a marbled coat under their bellies.


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