Botswana Khwai, Savute, Chobe Safari: Lionesses Brave Crocs for a Swim

Fanus Shares from the Botswana Khwai, Savute, Chobe SafariSafari: Lionesses Brave Crocs for a Swim

What a wonderful day! It started a little slowly when we visited the hyena den, but found no sight or sound of the inhabitants. Then a quick search for the leopard we had seen also proved fruitless.

But that was the end of the quiet start to the day –

We came across the five lionesses that we saw before – the ‘pride without a name’. There are suggestions that they have arrived from the vicinity of a neighboring village where there were reports of sightings. Hopefully they will settle here now. All five are really strong, beautiful examples of healthy felines.

The lionesses were following a herd of buffalo, keeping a close eye on them as they meandered along. Then two of the cats separated from the others to walk around the herd. Now the buffalo were surrounded.

We held our breath! It was so tense, so exciting, every second filled with drama. The two groups faced each other – a standoff! An approach! A rebuff! Slight change of positions, more staring. We sat quietly – actually, we could hardly move with the buildup of strain! The two groups continued to watch each other, staring intently … any moment …

Then the lionesses suddenly changed their minds about buffalo on the menu and abruptly walked away, following the Sable Alley tributary of the Khwai River. They clearly wanted to cross the river to their apparent destination.

To our surprise they chose the widest, deepest part of the river to make their crossing. It was amazing to see all five lionesses swimming together through the deep water to the far side – even more amazing as we weren’t the only spectators – large crocodiles lurked in the water and on the banks just meters away.

Again we found ourselves holding our breath! The swim seemed to go on and on … until finally all five were safely on the far bank. Whew!

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Once they reached the safety of the riverbank, the lionesses found a comfortable spot to settle down to sleep during the midday heat. This was a cue for us to return to the camp for lunch.

As we made our way back to the lions this afternoon we paced ourselves to arrive at around 17:30. We stopped frequently to photograph the teeming general game (Waterbuck, Impalas – oh, you name it we probably photographed it …) and fabulous bird life.

We arrived at the lions as planned to find them still fast asleep. We waited, knowing that they would awaken in the cool late afternoon, and that is what they did. We thought that they might go to the river for a drink as soon as they woke up, but not today – they started to hunt almost as soon as they were up.

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We followed as they searched for suitable prey, examining potential herds, climbing termite mounds for a good look around and so covering quite a large area.

We remained with the huntresses until we were forced to return to the camp (late!) for dinner, but we intend to return to the lionesses at first light …

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