Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lion Kill at Grootkolk - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park 14.November 2010

All the movies are best at 480p, if you watch them larger on the YouTube page, it's 720p HD.

Well we arrived at Grootkolk on the 13th of November full of anticipation, happy and excited like children waiting for birthday or christmas.
Franco greeted us very friendly with the words :" Welcome to the Lons of Grootkolk"
And indeed there were 5 Lions resting right underneath the tree by the waterhole.

They observed us while we unloaded the car and I can tell you we never unpacked the car as quick as on that specific afternoon.  :lol:
We moved into our home for the next three nights, cabin #4 the one the furthest to the right.

Seeing the Lions under the tree and enjoying the supeb view, we decided to stay in camp on that afternoon rather than driving to one of the waterholes to the north or south of camp.
We could have a coffee while watching the Lions, what more could we possibly ask for....
Later that afternoon one of the adult Lionesses got up and walked away. While all the others stayed at the waterhole and just watched where she was going.
We were suprised to say the least  :huh: .

Quite a while later she returned back to the waterhole only to greet the three subadults of the pride which then in turn got up and started to walk away ......
A little later she went to one of the smaller trees and bushes close by and returned with 4 of the most adorable cubs  8)
She greeted the second Lioness that was still lying close to the waterhole and the cubs started to play.

Well this is just one of the many video footage we took of the cubs, more will follow later in the trip report....  :wink:

We spend the whole afternoon watching the little ones play. They were in really good mood and had a lot of fun (like all the people in the camp as well  :lol: ).

Later that evening we had a braai checking the Lions, which were still under that tree, from time to time.
We were even a bit worried that the cubs were lying there as well.
What will happen when some Hyenas were coming to have a  drink ?! :shock:
It was around 9.30 pm when we went to bed, not having the faintest idea what was going to happen later that night......
Only thing I tell you now is, that is was a rather short night's rest.....

Well at almost excatly 3 am we heard a kind of a metal clash.
At first I thought that Hyenas might have come up to the cabin and were now busy with the dustbin.
But then a noise started that we never ever heard before, but instantly we knew what was happening outside.

The Lions had made a kill.....
But they not only had made a kill they had done so right in front of our cabin.  :big_eyes:
The upper flap on the door was open and so I shone through the mesh to have a closer look what was happening outside.
5 Lions were lying on the other side of the little fence, close to our braai and devouring some kind of animal that was (when I first had a look at the scene) still kicking.
Adrenline levels inside the cabin were probably as high as outside....

As the Lions were lying really close to the fence it was hard to see without the fence reflecting the light of the torch.

So we tried to capture the whole scene with the camcorder.
No brilliant pics, but turn up the volume and I think the sounds will give you goosebumps....

It was plain unbelievable.  :shock:

In the meantime we had discovered that it was an unfortunate Hartebeest that they had killed.
One of the females then grabbed the skull, still the spine was attached and carried it over to a small tree to the right of our cabin.
Now as she started to chew on the Hartebeest we had a really good view when kneeing on our beds.
Every now and then the others came to the front of the chalet where they had killed the animal to check for some bits and pieces that were still left.
So I was constant movement for us from the side where we could observe the Lioness to the side where we were able to see the other Lions...

A while after the Lioness started to chew she called the cubs.
We already heard them for quite a while, but were not able to see them in the darkness.
We could not believe our eyes. The cute little fluffy cubs we observed in the afternoon and which were still so small that we thought they only feed on mummy's milk, started chewing on the Hartebeest as well  :shock:

What a sighting  !!!

And we had a prime position to observe everything :-)

Upon Dawn the Lions started to roar and a big male joined the show.

The appearance of the male caused some unrest in the rest of the pride.
Suddenly the Lions were everywhere.....
One of the Lionesses came to the site of the killing again, scratched for something on the ground and finally walked off with something that looked like a piece of leg....

The male went over to the little tree where the Lioness had fed with the cubs and got his share as well.
Here you can see how far the tree is from our cabin.

Mum, Auntie and the kids..

One of the Lionesses calling (unfortunately I had to take this through the closed window..).

Action everywhere you looked...

And more roaring in the morning.....
Thank God there was everything in the cabin, toilet, fridge and we even had hot water for a coffee (we had prepared it the evening before as we planned to leave the camp early for a drive in the morning.....well little did we know then...).

We loved to observe Mum, Auntie and the cubs.
In this video I especially love the sequence where Auntie is playing with one of the cubs  :-)

More pics of Mum with the kids...

The cabin was surrounded by Lions.
If you went to the toilet, looked out of the window, two amber coloured eyes looked up at you, washed you hands, looked out of the window, 4 amber coloured eyes looked up at you and if you had a shower you could clearly see the tree with the male Lion underneath.....

At one time during the night we wanted to rest a bit and sat on the beds. In that second a Lion ran past the cabin right behind our backs. It was amazing. You could really feel the power and weight of the body. The stamping of the feet went right down your spine into the stomach.....

The Lions were everywhere.
The Male lion seemed to disturb the pride. It seemed that he was attracted especially by one female of the pride and during the morning the two lied down for a rest right on the main "road" of the camp.  :lol:

 The Male was really impressive...

After the Lions there were the Jackals around.
One of them found the Hartebeest tale really tasty.  :roll:

Another one found a rib...

The next day we discovered what the metal clash sound might have been.
The Lions damaged our fence. It seemed that they and the Hartebeest crashed into our fence and dented it.

The video shows this maybe even better....

The Lions stayed in the camp the whole day, well  the two love-birds and two of the subadults.
The two Lionesses together with the cubs went away.....(well at least for the day  :lol: )

It was a simply breathtaking sighting.
A once in a lifetime experience.
It was great to see the interaction within the Lion pride, the two females worked perfectly together,protecting the cubs as much as they could, the roaring gave us goosebumps, it was a long and sleepless night.
And we enjoyed every single second of it.
We felt very "privileged" to be able to witness something special like this.