One hot Kgalagadi morning we saw an amazing sight. A large eland herd was walking along the Auob riverbed. This is a rare sight and eland are not the easiest of antelope to watch, they tend to be skittish and like to watch us from far away.

This herd, however, was obviously heading for the waterhole up ahead. We watched for a while and then drive straight to the waterhole about 1 km ahead to wait for them to come and drink. Or at least that is what we thought would happen.

But the Kgalagadi is famous for surprises. What did we find there but the king and his current flame coming for water from the other side and drinking.

They had no idea the herd was coming and were obviously intent on continuing their romantic interlude. They drank and then went and lay down among some trees in the shade. Its just amazing how animals get a feeling of something wrong, or they are just extra careful especially when getting to an open space where there are trees close by and they are going to be drinking with heads down.

The herd never arrived. About 300 meters before the waterhole they drew up and within seconds were over the dunes and gone. The lions had noticed them, but the wonderful part is that they had noticed the lions. Tan colors one on top of the other in the shade, we could hardly see them properly, and we knew exactly where they were.

But that old eland bull had picked them out as well and led his thirsty troop off and out of harm’s way. Now I know it’s not the greatest thing to think, but I was really hoping to see a real lion kill. Better luck next time. He who does not drink and walks away lives to drink another day.