I had sat looking over the Black Imfolozi River from the safety of my car at a viewpoint I have driven into many times before. It is a place often used by small groups for breakfast stops before they make their way to Nyalazi Gate and exit the park. Today there was just me and a herd of waterbuck. Sitting there, engine off, I enjoyed the solitude and the noise of bird calls and the breeze travelling through the grass.
Thinking back, I had been privileged in this very spot to have watched elephants taking a dust bath. I had also watched a group of southern ground hornbills walking and feeding through a small patch of open grassland. I always thought this a perfect place for lion sightings, but sadly they had never materialized here. The behaviour of all animals fascinates me. But here on this day I witnessed something most peculiar. At the time it scared me but looking back now I can smile about it.
Saying goodbye to the waterbuck I drove slowly around the bend of the dirt track to where it meets the tar road. As I crawled along, a car came into view on the tar road. It slowed down and stopped a few hundred meters in front of me. I instinctively stopped and looked to see if I could see what they had stopped to look at. Lions maybe? Then, amazingly a lady got out of the car and the car drove away from her, coming to a stop probably 20 meters from her. The lady seemed to pirouette and do a few twirls. Her movements exaggerated by the breeze lifting her long dress. Looking over at the car she was being encouraged on from two occupants who were busy taking photos of her. Oh shit, was this to be the very first time I get to see lions here, I thought to myself? Driving over to her I told her this was not a safe place to be standing. She greeted me with a smile, twirled again. Laughed and simply said “why not?” “Well, there are wild animals here, making this exceptionally dangerous” I stressed to her. “Like what?” she said, laughing in the direction of her two friends. “Erm well, lions for instance” I replied. She stopped smiling and looked me straight in the eye. At last, I thought she has got the message! The next thing she said was “Ah thank you so much and please tell me, what time do the lions come out here?”