Saturday, 22 February 2014

Turns out lions aren't all that cuddly...

The lapse in time between my last post and this one isn't due to the fact that I was almost eaten by lions (twice), or that Daddy Day Care didn't go according to plan (all three boys were alive & kicking on my return and all swearing blind that nothing had gone amis...hmm;-)). It's simply due to work being rather full on at the moment.

The trip to South Africa was fantastic. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of hard work that went on and we only got between 3-4 hours sleep a night, but it was held in a amazing setting and each day kicked off with a 5.30am game drive (I quickly realised that I'd been a bit over-optimistic in packing my hair straightners considering that I had a max of 10 minutes each morning & evening to shower, throw fresh clothes on, tie my wet hair up and get back to the group).
 
On our drives we were given very clear instructions that whatever happened we were to stay in the vehicle (an open air truck that took about 10 people). Apparently the wildlife didn't view the trucks as threatening but would take out anyone who stepped outside. Okay. Point understood & filed away.

On the Tuesday evening we'd been on a good drive and were just about to head back when a male lion was spotted in a different part of the reserve. We all agreed that we weren't bothered about making it back for dinner and off we went to find it instead. It was a fairly impressive creature and as we got within a few feet of it there was a loud pop and our truck ground to a halt. We had a puncture. Our ranger & spotter had a chat and decided that they had to change it. The ranger opened his door, the lion stood up, the ranger closed his door.


We radioed another truck to come & help and when they arrived they pulled up in front of the lion obstructing his view of us. The ranger & spotter jumped out, jacked the truck up and started changing the tyre. At which point the truck started to fall over and they remembered that the hand brake didn't work properly. "GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!!!" were the clear instructutions to us. So we all jumped out very quickly and stood in a circle like a little herd of impalas - waiting to get picked off!

The lion gave a couple of very loud roars and even the bravest amongst us started wishing that we hadn't finished all the G&T earlier! The gallows humour was coming thick & fast, particularly as we'd realised that whilst we clearly knew where the lion was we had no idea what was creeping up behind us. The other truck was still blocking our main predator's view though and they finally managed to herd him away from us.

Our brilliant ranger & spotter then quickly sorted the truck out and we all bundled back in and sped off back to the lodge - where we headed straight to the bar and stayed there calming our nerves until the wee small hours!

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