We were the only ones parked at Ghwarrie Dam. While watching the antics of the South African Shellducks, Egyptian Geese, and the Stilts, we looked up to see two male lions padding purposefully along the edge of the dam. Not a sound did they make. There was not even a flurry of concern from the birds.

Lions at Ghwarrie Dam

We watched in awe as one chose to walk along the edge of the water and the other a route a little further from the bank.

lion at Ghwarrie Dam

The two lions padded past an old elephant carcass without halting their stride – and disappeared. They had covered the distance in under two minutes.

Game viewing depends so much on the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time. We were joined by another vehicle not a minute later. The occupants scanned the dam and asked hopefully, “Seen anything interesting here?” There was no chance of them seeing the lions. “You’re so lucky!” They pulled off to seek their own good fortune elsewhere.

We later watched an elephant calf suckling its mother at the Spekboom waterhole.

suckling elephant

At what has become known as Windmill Dam, four zebra waited patiently for the elephants to drink their fill.

zebra and elephant

Further on, some red hartebeest nibbled at the dry grass.

red hartebeest

We decided to exit the Addo Elephant National Park via the Ngulube Loop. A low russet shape moving quickly through the long grass at the edge of the road caught our attention. The movement was far too quick for me to focus my camera and so I simply enjoyed our good fortune at seeing the unmistakeable shape of a caracal emerging from the tangle of spiky shrubs and long grass and bound across the road in the mellow afternoon sunshine – my first sighting of one in the Park.

Good game viewing really can be the result of the luck of the draw sometimes!



  1. So true! But then again sometimes it’s a matter of being observant. A few years ago we were in Kruger and decided to pull to the side of the road to let a line of about 6 or 7 cars get ahead of us as we wanted to bird and thought the line behind us would get irritated if we delayed them by stopping for every bird. One of these cars was in fact a ‘jeep jockey’ with a group of tourists. When we set off again we found a leopard in a tree – none of the other vehicles had seen him and we got to enjoy him all by ourselves. When you birdwatch, you tend to look intently into trees!


  2. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Birding has many positive spin-offs – including being left alone to enjoy sights such as the leopard you mention. We have had a similar experience with cheetah. Nothing can replace careful observation – and patience.

    Liked by 1 person

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