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  • Writer's pictureJulian Brookstein

Walking with the Kings and Queens of Sinamatella, Hwange

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Just out of Hwange and had another brilliant safari.

Something that I have been excited about, for some time is getting to know the lions of the Sinamatella and more specifically, the area around Camp Chitubu.

Having spent the last months mainly in Hwange at Camp Chitubu on safari, I’m starting to see some patterns and areas that these cats are frequenting.

On my last safari in Hwange, on our first afternoon drive with my friends and guests, Guy and Beppe Lever, we spotted vultures close to camp. Not just any vultures but Hooded Vultures. The ones who more often than not, find kills first. We see a few at first then drive on and see more as we get closer. We can’t see anything from the road so we jump out to do what makes Zimbabwe safari what it is. We walk to investigate.

We go in amongst the shaving brush combretums that are all in flower now. We move slowly, scanning hard. We come around towards the tree with the vultures in it, some take off but only fly to the next tree and land. This is a sure sign something is going on.

Then I see what I’m looking for. Fresh lion tracks. We do a little look around, I see more tracks all heading in the same direction. Towards where the grass is thicker under the combretum. We follow slowly, senses peaked now that we know for sure what it is we are looking for. I see movement down a flattened alley in the grass. It's the rear end of a lion. I quickly pull Beppie closer to me and show her the lion. The lion doesn’t see us but moves forward. We move slowly around. Then we hear a lion grunt and we stop. They have seen us.

We move a little to get a better look. We see a lioness looking at us from about thirty metres, low to the ground, tail whipping from side to side. She stamps her paws and grunts at us. We stand quietly and watch. After a few seconds seeing two more heads in the grass watching us. It’s the older Lioness making it clear they are not happy we are here while the adolescents look on. Taking their cues from the older cats and standing their ground albeit quietly.

We move slowly toward the way we came in and I see to the left another cat watching us. She is also an older lioness. She too makes it clear we should leave with a grunt and stamp of the paws. Tail whipping. We watch her for a bit before continuing out.

I am loving getting to know the cats of Camp Chitubu.

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