It was just after 21:00 and my guests and I were still sitting at the table chatting after our dinner. It was a warm, clear but moonless evening and we had enjoyed watching the zebra, gnu and impala's that had been grazing in front of us in the early evening. They were still very close to us and I periodically shone my flashlight onto the pitch black scene on the savanna. I saw that many were laying down, some still grazing and moving around slowly, their eyes shining like marbles against my light. Hundreds of eyes looked back a me, some no more than 20 meters.
At some point they started getting nervous and were all facing the same direction and staring at an unseen object... unseen only to me and my guests! Soon enough the alarm calls and snorting started in ernest and I heard the thundering hooves of many zebra charging away from me just off the little fence. I shone my flashlight at the noise, there she was, a fully grown and muscular lioness no more than 2 meters from the fence and within 15 to 20 meters of me. I saw and felt her disappointment as she knew that just like the night before she had failed in exactly the same place. I was surprised by the depth of my pity that I felt for this mother who was trying to feed her family.
I continued to watch her as she stalked away from me towards the many impala, zebra and gnu further away. My flashlight picked up another set of eyes laying in the grass no more than 15 meters from where she was now and to my surprise she did not make an attempt to catch this easy meal. I was really puzzled and wanted to shout out to her "to your left, quickly!" How was it possible that both impala and lion had missed each other? I was urging her to turn quickly as the buck was still laying down, "look, look you can still get a small meal, its not too late", I watched the impala get up suddenly and stupidly walk towards her, but wait that was no impala, the unmistakable form of another lioness came into view. She walked up to her sister and greeted her by rubbing her head against her as if to say "don't worry let's try again". I marvelled at these amazing creatures as I had just witnessed first hand how they had worked together from the comfort of my swimming pool deck in pitch black darkness.
They had employed the classic pincher movement, the first lioness had attempted the kill or to secondarily scare or chase the zebra towards her waiting sister in the long grass. Unfortunately for them the zebra had galloped the wrong way towards the river and not further up the savanna as expected. I watched with appreciation and awe as these two amazing creatures walked off into the night looking for food. My appreciation turned into love as I realised that she must have stalked right passed me and my guests in the darkness without even trying to harm us despite us being an easy meal.
TRULY......I LOVE LIVING WITH LIONS!