The new safari season has begun at Robin Pope Safaris‘s Nsefu Camp, Zambia, and it’s a full house of excitement. With guests as their audience, the lions decided to put on an award winning performance, and like all good stories this one was dramatic, wild and had a twist in the tale.
It all started bright and early around the camp’s outdoor breakfast area, on the riverside. Ruth, the new camp manager, was prepping for a routine morning meal when the action commenced. She excitedly tells the lion tale which will always be remembered as Nsefu’s grand opening:
This was our second day of the new season. At 5am we were preparing breakfast along the riverside for our guests, just before sunrise. Two guests were already around the fire enjoying the early sounds of the bush.
Suddenly, one of us looked across the river and noticed a lioness coming towards the edge. She seemed to be chased by other females and decided it was safer to enter the water. She looked very uncertain, cats do not like water and in Africa they have good reason: the waters here are full of crocodiles. But to our amazement she seemed to want to cross to our side.
As more guests arrived for breakfast she slowly moved towards us, stopping every now and again. She was obviously scared of the strong current and the high possibility of getting attacked by a crocodile. All the same, she kept coming closer.
Once she hit deep water, she started to swim but the current pushed her downriver. Clearly exerting herself she came ashore next to the last chalet of our camp. With the increasing light one of our guides then noticed two male lions slightly further upstream, also on our side of the bank, probably no more than 50m away.
The males were completely fixated on the lioness and it appeared as if they wanted to welcome her. With all this activity on both sides, we did not know where to look anymore, and breakfast was little more than an afterthought.
The males started to walk inland towards our bar area whilst the lioness waited underneath a big tree which stands between the guest area and staff village. The tension was building as we lost sight of the males. The female had not made a move yet. At this point our guests and guides decided to go into the bush by car to see exactly what was going on and to find the males, but not before the female appeared between our chalets, searching for the males. After realising they were no longer in the camp she turned around and disappeared into the bush.
There is never a dull day in the African bush. No scripts are necessary. Unexpected wild happenings are around every corner, or in this case, along the river using Nsefu’s camp as centre stage!
What a way to start a day indeed, and what a way to start the Nsefu safari season.