I acted as ‘back up’ for Francois who took the three ’28 day’ safari students for a walk. There was one slight change which made quite a difference, my rifle was loaded with three .458 lotts and I had ten on my belt. The rounds were not for me to use in anger, they were simply to get me used to carrying a loaded weapon through the bush. Psychologically this was a big thing, knowing that the rifle could go bang makes a huge difference to carrying one that just goes click.
We met the other guys for coffee at the LandCruiser, they’d had a good walk but like us no encounters. We’d driven about five minutes down the road when one of the chaps announced that he’d left his rifle propped up against a tree. This is obviously not a good thing, he’s now walking around with an old rifle shaft which he has to keep on him for the foreseeable future no matter where he goes.
On the afternoon walk we were taking a break and I was sure, but not a 100% sure that I’d heard lions. I quietened everybody down but there wasn’t a sound. I dismissed it as nothing and on the walk we saw nothing. As we were getting back to the car we heard them as clear as a bell and they were close, probably within a kilometre. The sun was almost down so we couldn’t go after them. I’m leading in the morning so we’re heading back up to the area to see if we can find them.
People are starting to hear about their lodge placements which is all incredibly exciting. Dee the camp manager has told me that I’ve been tentatively placed at one and that I may have to choose between there or being ‘Back-up’ at Makuleke and Mashatu if I get my Trails Guide qualification.