On this particular afternoon the game drive set out with the plan agreed between our rangers to find the buffalo up north in the reserve. But in the back of our minds, we were also hoping to spot the male lion we’ve been waiting to show our guests. At this point we agreed to take our rifles along, and if anybody did find his tracks, we were going to follow on foot until we found the king of the jungle!

When we reached Fig Tree plains it was a straight road to the buffalo area about 40 minutes from there, or a short left to the airstrip, where at that precise moment, another ranger called in on the radio, reporting that the male lion was seen walking across the airstrip. Without saying a word, we turned around like synchronized ‘Super Rangers’ to embark on the greatest male lion ‘hunt’ ever seen at Mhondoro.

As we reached the airstrip – literally just as we reached it – we heard on the radio that the visual of the lion has been lost. What a disappointment! My ranger colleague and I simply would not accept that, and got off the vehicle with our loaded rifles to go look for the male lion that has given us the slip.

We walked for about 30 minutes with no success and then decided that we needed to get back to the vehicles and head north, following the route we thought he may possibly be taking.  We made fast work of it and quickly got back on his tracks on the other side of the plains.  Suddenly, something caught my eye. A distinct figure was moving through the bush and there he was – walking on the ridge line towards the road.  All we had to do was sit quietly, and watch this magnificent beast of a male lion continue to walk calmly, straight past our vehicle.

I would call that a successful mission accomplished!

Evan Vermeulen


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