This morning we went out in search of giraffe and cheetah. But when we heard via the bush telegraph that the Western lion pride was out and about, I couldn’t just pass by. We approach the sighting and saw two lionesses heading for Rhino Dam, soon to be followed by four sub adults and the dominant male who was chasing the male cubs around. The young male lions were growing up fast and the dominant male would not want them close to the females anymore. The young female was in a playful mood, joining her father in chasing her brothers around.

Finally, content with the distance he managed to chase the young males away from the females, the Tembe male starts roaring. Soon the females join him and we find ourselves as spectators to the entire pride of lion vocalizing here, right in front of us. The hippos in the dam did not like the noise one bit and suddenly started responded with their own vocalizing.

The young female lion was intrigued by the ‘laughing’ hippo noise and went to investigate. When she got close to the water two of the hippos had had enough and were leaving the dam, speeding up to chase the lioness and two of her brothers behind her. Hippos are territorial and believe it or not, they can move very fast if they need to, easily reaching a speed of 30 kmph. So, with two hippos of a tonne and half each giving chase, even the bravest lion will get a big fright and run away!

It took about 30 seconds for the two hippos to be back in the water again, joining the rest of the pod who were still lounging around in the dam. After all the action the lions lay down on the dam wall for a rest, ending a most exciting sighting with a final roar…

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