What a day this has been… ever stared a lion in the eyes?
Even though brought up in human enclosure, your heart rate picks up a beat or two.
Dina and Dirk were keeping me busy and booked a tour at their friends ‘Lion and Wildgame park Mbumanzi’, just outside of Memel.
I know right, poor lions, raised by humans, caged up, the king without kingdom…!
The facts speak a different story however. The lion population is rapidly declining, just like all other wildlife. 50 years ago, South Africa’s lions roared at around 50000. Now, a mere 15000 are still alive. Shooting the ultimate trophy, a real lion king, kills around 9 lions with one shot. As the leader of his pride is dead, a new lion king appears naturally. But he won’t accept the lion cubs from the previous ruler and kills them all so as to produce his own offspring.
The sad truth told by lion lover and game park manager, Kiwit at the briefing. She prefers lions to humans at any time. I understand what she means but wouldn’t go that far.
First stop, the lion cub enclosure. As she called the 3 month old sisters Lea and Sahara out, 2 over-sized kittens came over, straight towards me. I wasn’t interesting enough and after a quick sniff, they walked off to higher ground, a typical lion feature to see what’s happening around you.
We jumped in to a white troopy ute/pick up, caged in like prisoners. We came to the Zerk enclosure, where nature does its own cloning. A horse and zebra took a liking in each other or maybe just desperate measures.
A few buffaloes and several Antelope joined the enclosure.
Fascinating to see them up close and personal.
We came to another enclosure, where one year old brother Cartjies and sister Lady Jane resided, playful and cute. Not a worry in the world.
Next door, an absolute massive lion king with an impressive mane and the rightful name of Ceisar.
First time father to be, to his pregnant and almost due lioness Shevas, he wasn’t overly bothered about human visitors. Kiwit asked him to come over but he just couldn’t be moved. I didn’t mind him staying where he was. I only took close up shots, as I don’t think, I will get another chance for close up shots that easily.
A drive through the paddock with all sorts of Antelope, Wildebeest, Zebras and Ostrich running for cover. I got a few quick shots of a few water bucks, Oryx and Roman Antelope.
We stopped at a chapel, where Dina and Dirk’s daughter is getting married in
March next year. Chapel with a view. I was invited to make the wedding cake.?
Our last stop was most impressive though. Kiwit stopped the bakkie next to a high vantage point of residing lioness Letatsi. She then called her over to come and say hello. And she did.Well, have a look for yourself. You can see the bakki reflecting in her eyes in a few shots.
Our tour was ended where it started,in the restaurant. I transferred my photos to my iPad and over lunch and had a look through. Kiwit was somewhat impressed and said that Dina had told her about my photos already. They are having an October fest here in 3 weeks and are in need of a photographer, and pastry chef, to produce some German Pretzels. Ha ha,what a fest that will be. I drove home, another troopy landcruiser. I do miss my buddy though.
Back home,I got in to mixing a pizza dough, simple but soft. I even used some sour dough, I started and refreshed over the last few days. Some of the sourdough I used earlier for a yeast free sourdough loaf, with nuts and dried fruits, 90/10 wheat/ rye ratio, which I will bake off later. The pizza dough rested a few hours, and topped with ‘biltong’, feta, cheddar and morzarella cheeses, baked at 240 deg for 14 minutes, fluffy and crunchy. Some olive oil,fresh basil and avocado was added whilst cooling down, served with my favourite special carrot salad, which has found a few friends in different countries. Yumm.
Dina and Dirk’s youngest son Thabo, who comes down every weekend from school, joined us for dinner. A cold Lager rounded the evening up nicely.