Sunday, 27 January 2013

Lions at last

The best place for viewing savanah animals in QE national park is in the far North East corner of the park near the village of Kisenyi which is a village on the shore of Lake George north of the Kazinga channel and not the village of Kisenyi on the shore of Lake Edward to the south of the channel .  You can reach this part of the park by exiting the park and using the road that links the town of Katwe with the main road.  This road is wide gravel and pretty good.

This is about a 45 minute drive away from Mweya, but you can stay in the park and use the park's own road network which takes about half an hour longer.

The area to the west of the main road is more acacia forest, whereas the area to the east is more grassland.  The wildlife changes as you move from one to the other, Elephants at one end and lions at the other.

It took 3 game drives before we eventually came across a small pride of lions, 3 adult females and 5 cubs.  They had just made a kill and were happily munching on the corpse of a young kob.  The kob's mother was
standing nearby looking anxiously in the direction of the lions - but she didn't seem to want to abandon her baby.

As we sat and watched them, a couple of other safari vehicles turned up and drove off the road and right up beside the feeding lions.  You are not allowed to drive off the tracks, but it seems standard practice by the local drivers/guides to ensure their customers get good photos.  This kind of spoilt the viewing for us, and presumably disturbed the animals as well.  However we don't blame the guides, it is up to the customers to keep them on the straight and narrow, and not to reward poor behaviour.

Luckily we came across the the lions again the next day and got to enjoy them undisturbed by other vehicles for over an hour.

Initially we only spotted a large female, but after watching her for a while we notice some movement in a large cactus tree nearby.  This turned out to be 3 small cubs who soon climbed down out of the tree and wandered over to meet their mother.  The cubs all had various cuts and wounds, so it looks like they had had a run in with something nasty over night.

The mother looked quite relaxed though and greeted her cubs in an affectionate way, as we sat on the roof of the levante enjoying the late afternoon light.

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