Walking in Kruger National Park: The Lioness Moment

In 2017, we went back to the Kruger National Park area and decided to do the bushwalk…again.

And again it was at Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp. Ironically with one of the same rangers – Ranger 1 from the previous blog : Walking in Kruger National Park: The Tale of the Swishy Trousers

There were 8 of us in total – John, myself and my 2 stepsons plus 4 French students who had also signed up to do the walk.

So, same as before – early morning start – 5:00 am at the rest camp, back of a landrover/safari jeep for about 20 minutes into the Park when we came across this:

Some lions hanging out….

So what is truly misleading here is that there were about 20 lions obscured by the bushes, just lying around after eating a huge meal.

Ranger 1 got excited as before. Identifying a lioness in particular saying ‘That one has cubs somewhere hidden in the river bank. She tried to eat us yesterday’.

At this point, we had discovered that he had a dry sense of humour and we actually weren’t sure if he was joking or not.

Anyway, we carry on driving up the road – after 5 minutes, he says “we are parking here”. Fab.

All of us off the vehicle.

Same rules as before: Don’t talk, don’t make noises, switch your camera sound settings off ‘no nice tunes please’, walk in single file, listen to the rangers. If something happens and we encounter one of the bigger animals: get behind him because he has the rifle.

He then did explain – they don’t want to be in the situation where they shoot an animal, but it won’t happen if we aren’t silly and listen to him. Again. Point taken.

Heading along the Crocodile River

A little bit into our walk, we came across a rhino sleeping in the river bank, so we stopped to take photos.

Rhino sleeping on the river bank

Then we heard a very loud growl from the right and a lioness appeared on the top of the embankment.

‘Get behind me’ said Ranger 1. We all scrunched up behind him as he and Ranger 2 formed a protective front. The lioness ran off. Ranger 1 concluded matter- of-factly: “We must be near her cubs.”

But now we had another problem.

The rhino was awake.

Rhino on full alert

So now to summarise our situation – we had a rhino awake on the river bank on the left and a lioness somewhere on the embankment above us on the right.

Uh oh.

Ranger 1 then decided to take us up to the riverbank on the right – he theorised “the lioness will see us move away, know we aren’t a threat to her cubs and it will be ok”.

Besides, the other alternative was taking our chances with the rhino.

So, we moved up the bank very slowly, away from the river and across an open bit of bush….in single file….and Ranger 1 then said “its ok, lions attack from the sides’”

Reminded me of that scene in Jurassic Park 2 with the velociraptors in the sugar cane….er…attacking from the sides.

And also, to this day, I’m not sure if it was his dry humour coming out there or an actual factual statement.

Either way, we were fine.

As before, we stopped for snacks about half an hour later and then continued back to the vehicle.

Heading back to the vehicle

On our way back to Crocodile Bridge rest camp, we passed the lions that we saw before – they hadn’t moved…much.

But who is that with them….could it be…?

The same lioness from the riverbank?!

“Ha ha…you should have seen their faces, Claude!”

Who knows. 🙂

A memorable bush experience. No doubt about it.

As with the first bushwalk, this is a real bush experience. You will come across the unexpected and sometimes the scary but this is true Africa. The rangers, as always, are knowledgeable and know the terrain and read the animal reactions perfectly as they have worked in this area for many years and know what to do.

Top tips:

  • Listen to and trust the rangers (always!) – they may come across as abrupt but they have your safety at heart
  • Don’t wear swishy trousers.
  • More information can be found on the link to Crocodile Bridge rest camp

Will we go back and do it again one day?

Oh yes, most definitely.

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Opinions expressed are our own based on personal experience.

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