Shenton Safaris: Debating the crossing

On the approach to the location of our carmine bee-eater hide, the Luangwa River takes a lazy meandering bend and the air is revived from the previous day’s rain. The river is so shallow it is blotted with sandbanks, vegetations and, of course, the gleaming humps of wallowing hippos backs. Shayne’s destination is the carmine bee-eater hide, the colonies are alive with action and the noisy chatter penetrates through the early morning air. However, just seven metres from Shayne’s car bonnet a female lion’s back appears behind a ridge in the bank, her strong shoulders work like a well-oiled machine as she marches into sight and towards the water’s edge. 

The lion that stops at the water is a member of the Mwamba-Kaingo Pride and we have been keeping an eye on this pride for some days now. The M-K’s have been separated by the Luangwa River which is parks natural boundary and crossings have been considered and executed throughout the week. 

The female holts suddenly and focuses her gaze on the adjacent bank, laying under a sausage tree are two other pride members, but the bank is steep below them and if this female were to cross she would struggle to scale it successfully. Shayne watches on as the female steps cautiously into the shallow water and navigates her way to a large sandbank, she considers her next steps carefully. As the female assesses whether this is her crossing point, a crocodile swims towards her spooking her. She turns and wades back across the water before flopping onto the bright white sand where the river once flowed. The lady calls and calls to her pride members, but she will have to find another safer crossing point without them. 

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