I left Nossob camp a little late cuz we were moving camp and I was a little put off about missing the ‘early’ morning, it was already about 730am and I had lost an hour. But when the Kgalagadi delivers, it happens in spades. So we are driving along and suddenly I hear a low grunt/roar. And there on the left, high up on the crest of the dunes is movement. So I stop, we all watch and bingo, it’s a male lion, walking parallel to the car and in the opposite direction. I reverse for a bit and then flipped the car around to drive along the same path when he cut across and came straight down the slope towards the Rooikop waterhole. The sun caught his beard as he came through the bushes and it was then that we saw him in all his glory. 4 meters in front of the car he walked majestically unhurriedly across the road. What a lion!
Certainly the biggest most magnificent Swart Manhaar of all time. Well at least for me. Swart manhaar is the Afrikaans word for black-maned lion, that’s what they have in the Kgalagadi. He was heading for a drink. I positioned opposite him and took some pictures and watched him.
He came around and sniffed the ground for news of his family and as I moved the camera it caught his eye. He gave me a look that was simply heartstopping, especially as this massive lion was just 5 meters from the car. He held my eyes for an eternal minute, and then went back to sniffing.
My breath came out in a burst, I had not realised that I had stopped breathing. I pulled out the phone to make a video as he walked away roaring as he went, calling to let everyone know he was here and a message to his family letting them know where he was. The whole group in the car looked at each other, we all felt the same way. It had been an incredible experience. Kgalagadi can be tough, but as I said when it delivers it leaves you speechless.