The morning of 8th September got off to a lively start; the signals leading us along the Sanga boundary. Within minutes we saw Leya, Loma and Kela racing through the tall grasses of Chobe. Pouncing on something in the grass Leya immediately started dragging it towards the nearest thicket and was swiftly followed by Kela and Loma. Signals showed the rest of the pride were also in the vicinity but the vegetation was just too thick to see who was where and doing what. We caught the odd glimpse of Kela chowing down on what appeared to be a wildebeest… but for the rest of the morning and mid-morning this was the best sighting we had.
Returning in the afternoon, hopes were high that the cooling temperatures would lead the lions out of what was rapidly becoming the most hated clump of bushes in the site; and Kela finally answered these prayers. Ambling around and greeting first Leya then Rusha she began to move north towards waterpan 2, with Leya, Temi and Kwandi following. Rusha immediately began feeding on what was left and Loma… well, she was in there somewhere as well.
The four made their way across Bwizu before stopping at the pan and taking on more water than the Titantic. Kela had been showing signs yesterday afternoon of coming into oestrus – and as the others settled down for a bit more rest, she seemed somewhat distracted. After milling around the pan, and eating some mud, she then set her sights on Leya; what started out as a regular social greeting turned into a bit of a performance which saw Leya actually leave the grouping and head back in the direction from which they’d arrived. There was no aggression, just the feeling that perhaps Leya wasn’t quite feeling the same love.
Watching the attention of affections wander back off into the distance Kela then too left the group, but only moved part way back across Bwizu towards Lusaka Road. Sitting on her own, she cut a lonely figure for several minutes until Loma pitched up from Chobe, after a quick stop for a greeting or two Kela was left alone once more as Loma headed towards Temi and Kwandi at the waterpan. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – and that’s what Kela did; turning tail and teaming back up with her sister, Loma and Temi. This time Loma came in for a bit of overly-enthusiastic greeting, but this time Kela got a much kinder reception.
Leaving this idyllic scene, we stopped back in once more in Chobe and found Leya finally getting the peace she craved with only Rusha’s gnawing on the latest set of remains to disturb her.