Not everyone gets to see Africa

Lions – Dig Faster!

Posted by Claire Gillman on April 16, 2014



Lioness with her cubs

Lioness with her cubs

imageWhen we crossed from Zambia into Botswana on the ferry, we went straight to the Chobe National Park where we were treated to the most amazing amount of game, and ridiculously close too. Chobe seemed to be packed full of elephants and giraffes – we lost count in the end.

We also spotted two lionesses with cubs and they were clearly on the hunt. They were only feet from the car when they started to stalk some unseen prey. We inched the car forward for a better photograph and promptly got stuck in deep mud on the marshy track. The car was now up to its axles. There was nothing else for it, we had to get out and dig the car out with spades – a nerve-wracking experience with hunting lions so close.

We stayed in a fabulous camp in the park called Sevuti Camp. Even as we were setting up the tents, we were amazed when a very large and very rare wild dog trotted past us. In fact we were so astonished that we didn’t manage to grab the camera in time.

So imagine our surprise and delight when, on the way from Chobe to Moremi park the next day, we turned the corner and there, in our path, was a pack of these shy and endangered dogs. We sat quietly as they ranged around the car, sniffing our scent and being highly curious. What a privilege.

Al in all, Botswana did not disappoint with its plentiful game and great national parks.

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11 Responses to “Lions – Dig Faster!”

  1. John Gillman says:

    It’s a pity digging is not an Olympic sport, you’d have had a good chance of making the GB team for 2016 if it had been :-)

  2. elizabeth hurry says:

    OMG sounds like the sort of event so much better in hindsight… thank goodness you had boys to help out :-) xx

    • It’s definitely a story we’ll be telling the grand kids and it was a great team effort but, as you say, it was rather an anxious moment at the time, especially as we didn’t know for sure that we could get the cruiser out and we were in a very remote part of the park. I think it will become a real fisherman’s tale and the lions will get closer and closer in the telling :)

  3. Jean Alger-Green says:

    Glad to see you were in the car Claire!!!!!! bit of a scary mary moment!! Something to dine out on in years to come!!! Jxxx

  4. Mary says:

    Etosha next and back in my footsteps ..
    Happy Easter from chilly UK

  5. Dave says:

    Great pic of the lioness with her cub; looks too close for comfort; hope you had the long lens on. As always it’s wonderful to hear about your progress and adventures. I’m sure you’re savouring every moment.

    • They were remarkably close initially, so no need for a long lens, Dave but we waited until they had moved off on their hunt before we got out of the car. They are so well camouflaged in the long grass though so it was nerve-wracking nonetheless

  6. Charles Devenish says:

    Hello Nick and Claire,
    Read about your adventure in the Sunday Times whilst visiting our children in Oxford. By now you are hardened travellers of course!
    We are ex Zimbabweans living in Port Alfred,South Africa for the last 12 years. Its possible that you may pass within 100 metres of our house on your way to Cape Town.
    If so we (my wife Pene and I ) invite you to spend the night or 2 if you so wish for a well earned rest, bath and food! if you so wish

    Best regards and enjoy your trip of a lifetime!

    • What a fantastic and kind offer, Charles. We’re currently in Windhoek and not sure of our itinerary but hope very much that we get the chance to meet. Thanks for your support – it’s very much appreciated.

  7. kspardner says:

    Claire … another wow .. What an experience. Missing you tho! xx

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