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Thieving Lions in the Kalahari desert

Thieving Lions in the Kalahari desert

Even after 17 years of experiences in the wilderness, Kalahari habitants can still surprise me! On one of my last tour through the Kalahari we settled our camp side on the edge of a large Kalahari saltpan on the Botswana side of the “Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park”. There are hundreds of different antelopes on the pan to leaking the essential salt and minerals. After a while I discovered 2 Lions on the opposite side of the saltpan with my binocular. We observed the scenery until it went to dark. We then enjoyed our diner around the fire, and went to bed after a beautiful day in the Kalahari desert.

Lions in the Kalahari desert

In the morning just after 5am I woke up and I realized that my wife Helen, who was driving the second 4x4 vehicle, where already up. I called “Hey Helen where are you?” I’m sitting behind the vehicle and look the spectacular sunrise, was the answer! OK it's time for me as well to stand up I decide! I opened my tent, and had a closer look as always to the left and then to the right. Wow, what’s that? A big Lion’s head is observing the scenery of our campsite just about 20 meters away. The `Majesty’ was lying behind a tree, not aggressively; he was just curious to see what’s going on in his territory. "Hey Helen my love, did you see our neighbor behind the tree there?" Helen's head turned around the vehicles corner. "Witch neighbor, and where?" "Just there by the tree." "What do you mean? Oh a Lion!"

"Yes indeed a Lion, so please go into the vehicle, but don’t run, go slowly."

Our Safari guests could hear our conversation, and where starting to move and open the tent to have a close look to our surprising visitor. That was too much. All the noise and activities have let the Lion decide to move away, before all this “Paparazzi” get out of the tents to make pictures. He stood up, and he moved slowly and proudly away. OK, I said to the guests. The Lion is moving away, you can safely leaving your tents to have a closer look. We then were privileged to observe the beautiful beast for about 10 minutes before he walked into the dens bush.

OK it’s time preparing breakfast. I walked to the table to head up water for tea or coffee. But what’s that. Now I realized that my gas cooker made by solid steel where not on the table anymore, where I left it in the evening. Only the gas bottle with the chewed gas pipe where lying on the ground. The cooker - what a miracle - isn’t here anymore. Where is this cooker going? Flying away? No, I saw tracks and raze in the sand. The Lions moved them up to the nearby sand dune.

I climbed into the 4x4 vehicle to drive up the dune to get my cooker back, but unfortunately the “Thief’s” moved them further into the thorny bushes, and it was to dangerous following the tracks further deep into the bush, because the Lions are still somewhere, even if we didn’t see them. Therefore I turned back into the camp to inform our guests that I could only offer a bottle of cold beer for breakfast.  Our guests where very amused and laughed loudly after that little adventure.

Since then I store my gas cooker every evening in the vehicle before going to rest...

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