June 14 – Savute (Part 3)

Finally all the adults had had their fill — the cubs were alternating between eating and playing — and Grant deemed it safe enough to back up even closer to the pride. We ended up with the truck not more than 15 feet from the lions. In one image of a cub lying in the grass, you can actually see the reflection of our truck in the cub’s eyes.

Cub with reflection

Cub with reflection

We watched and watched… taking pictures and even videos. I don’t think any of us could quite believe what we were seeing. Every so often Fred and I would look at each other, smile, shake our heads in almost total disbelief and go back to watching.

Finally, even we had had enough. All of the lions were lying down, we were starving (not for zebra but for lunch!) and we finally headed off back to camp.

The afternoon drive was quiet, but beautiful. We got a good look at an ostrich, and then spent some time watching elephants at a waterhole.




Savute elephants

We drove along some croppings of rock, looking for antelope or cheetah or leopards. We didn’t see anything much, but it really didn’t matter: we had seen lions. LOTS of lions. And finally Grant stopped the truck out in the middle of the Savute marsh and let us get out on the road. There was nothing out there but us, and with the land so flat, we could see the entire sunset, 360 degrees. It was like being in the middle of a pastel-colored bowl, with blue along the horizon and pink and red and orange above. It was one of the single most peaceful moments I’ve ever spent…

And tonight, every time I close my eyes, all I’m seeing in my mind is that replay of lions, lions, lions. Fred said it, and I agree: today alone would have made the whole trip worth every penny.

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