Sighting: Lounge lizard lions
Location: Busanga Bush Camp, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park
Dates: 20 October 2009
Observers: Laura Christie & JD Dunn
Photographs: JD Dunn
On 20 October at about 08h00 we spotted one of the adult male lions from the Busanga Pride from the camp. He was moving directly towards us. Nothing unusual in this we thought, Busanga Bush Camp does after all form the core of this pride's territory.
He continued walking straight past our main area however and down the path to the viewing deck about 10 metres away. For the next few hours he alternated between lying on the pathway and walking 5 metres into the open plains and lying there. Around mid-morning he was joined by one of the pride lionesses and her three cubs. They followed the same route past our main area and went to lie in the thicket next to the viewing deck.
Later in the day when it started getting really hot, we couldn't believe our eyes as the male moved up onto the viewing deck! This was presumably to take advantage of the breeze, something this pride often does in the fig trees dotted across the plains. He lay here all afternoon, for all the world behaving like the camp had long been deserted and reclaimed by nature. It is perhaps something this pride learnt in the summer season when the camp is closed, since our first sighting of this behaviour came earlier in the year when we saw four lionesses from the pride lying there when the island was still inaccessible due to high water levels.
In the early evening the male and female moved off and left the three cubs essentially in camp. The youngsters moved onto the helicopter landing pad and played with wild abandon on this open area before wandering off into the night slightly out of camp.