Some video of our morning walk with Paza + Penya.
Tag Archives: penya
5:15am my watch keeps telling me. I throw back the covers and tiptoe out onto the cold deck of our river tent. We're slated for an early morning walk with Paza and Penya. It's been a year and we're both anxious and excited to see how these two lovely ladies have grown in our absence.
The second time I met Kirsty was during our first encounter with the Ngamo Pride. In the back of a Land Rover watching this very unique group of lions go about their daily routine, I spent as much time watching Milo and Co. as I did paying attention to Kirsty – how effortlessly she recognized each lion, her understanding of each lion’s place in the pride’s hierarchy, her unbridled giddiness at being witness to a long and luxurious grooming session between several of the lionesses, and the way she notated every behavior of each lion in detail. Meticulous detail. It was obvious Kirsty was in her element out in the Ngamo release site, and it felt like having pitch side seats at a cup final.
It's official: we're returning to Africa!
As Anne's regaling us with her favorite Harare tourist and driving tips we find ourselves behind an omnibus, and as the bus approaches the intersection in front of us it comes to a stop at the light, which is red, forcing us to do the same. "Oh no," Anne says, "this isn't good." Too close to the bus' back bumper, with another car approaching us from behind, we can't easily navigate around it. So instead, we start scanning the nearby bushes, nervously waiting for the inevitable attack on our car. "This is not good at all, ya."
This is the part of the story where I'd like to say that I spent the night dreaming of lions. That King Milo came to see me, and beside the river outside our tent, amidst the roars of the other lions in his kingdom, we sat and talked about a great many things. Secrets that the wind has shared with him that he's now sharing with me.
The wind and, especially, the lack of lions roaring have put me on edge. We only have two days left at Antelope Park, and the inevitable pull of having to soon leave this place has left me feeling unsettled. I don't do well with goodbyes, and I'm especially unhappy to be nearing the end of this leg of our African journey.
When we get back to camp, it looks like the staff are getting ready for some big shindig on the main lawn. There are banners up, tables out with AP swag, the Ingonyama dancers are waiting in the wings, the staff are dressed up in their best khakis, and the elephants are wandering around. Elephants? We've never seen them in camp before. This must be something really big.
The MK's have given chase to something, but it's hard to tell what it is from our vantage point. 100 meters up the road we pull up alongside the lead vehicle and see Kali, Mara, Meeka, and Moyo, towering over a sub-adult zebra. The zebra is on its back, braying at the top of its lungs, kicking its hooves, and rolling from side-to-side – still very much alive. One of the lionesses has tucked her face into the zebra's rear end, where it was presumably taken down, and is, literally, eating it alive.
It never ceases to amaze me how glorious the mornings are here at Antelope Park. Today, we wake up to see the horses enjoying the river across from our tent. I see Silver Dime and give him a silent "thank you" for the lovely day we spent together yesterday. We take this picturesque scene as a good omen for the day ahead, which we're really excited about, because after two days without spending any time with the lions, our morning today begins with a walk with Paza and Penya. Famba ne shumba, "walk with lions."