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Hyena Walks Right into a Pride of Lions

Louis Le Roux (61) was on vacation at Gharagab in the Kgalagadi National Park when this incredible sighting unfolded. recalls his story: “160km North of Nossob, the camp was hot and very dry. The last 34km 4×4 track from Unions End to Gharagab took us 2.5 hrs due to condition of the road and we enjoyed the different scenery of the Red Kalahari.

Kraai (my wife and best friend of 41 years) and I, were booked into a cabin at Gharagab. On our arrival at 2pm, the camp was quiet and it was cooking hot. During the evening we saw that there was a brown and also a spotted hyena at a water hole with a few springboks and an eland in the background. The eland was very nervous and disappeared into the night without a sip of water. It was obvious that there were predators roaming this area as all animals were extremely cautious.

At 03h30 the next morning, we were woken by lion roars somewhere in the vicinity. We both smiled and knew that was why we came all the way to Gharagab on the bad Kgalagadi roads. I decided to sit outside on the wood deck merely a meter above ground level and listen to the night sounds but my wife reprimanded me and said it was too dangerous. It was awfully quiet so I went back to bed. At 05h00, I was woken by “something” and I felt uneasy, what had woken me? I walked out onto the wooden deck from where I could clearly see the water hole. My neck hair raised as I became aware of “something” and a strange smell was in the air but it was dark and I could not see anything.

I was peering into the night when I noticed movement happening in front of the deck. There they were, lions… Once I regained control of my heartbeat and breathing rhythm, I smelt the familiar scent of them. By now all my senses were awakened and I was immediately aware of the potential risk and danger so close by.

I moved slowly back into the cabin, which felt like an eternity, only 3-4 steps. The damn wood floor of the cabin made an awful lot of noise, each heartbeat was a canon sound against my ribs case. Kraai was sitting in her bed and asked in a lowered voice “Lou is it you, what’s wrong?”

From the open cabin door, we were watching the lions and attempting to close the cabin door but with each movement and noise, the lioness closest to the deck was looking right into my eyes. After a few minutes, we realized that 3 lionesses were right in front of our wood deck.

Previously we had experienced a close encounter with lions in the central Kalahari and we had no desire to repeat such an experience. Once in a lifetime is too much. We stood dead still watching these lions less than 5m from our flimsy wood cabin, not out of curiosity but out of fear and respect.

Times like these feel like an eternity and all sorts of thoughts flash through one’s mind. Dawn was breaking fast. We stood there exchanging eye contact with one another too scared to move or make a sound. Just before sunrise lionesses walked down to the waterhole and another 3 lionesses joined the ones in front of our cabin. We never even noticed these lionesses and again hearts pounding and breathing out of control. For the 3rd time within an hour, I was forced to regain self-control.

I grabbed my video camera and videoed the 6 x lions at the water hole. From the water hole all 6 x lionesses walked back to the 4 x cabins and passed between cabin 4 and 3. As I was videoing the lions my wife mentioned that a brown hyena was casually walking past our cabin down to the water hole.

The lions were now behind our cabin on the crest of the dune and were looking in all directions when they spotted the hyena at the water hole. The lions used our cabin as shelter to stalk the hyena. It was the hyena’s lucky day as he managed to escape the great chase of the pride.


I have realized that any safari in Africa is a bucket list for millions of people and this fact made me understand what a privilege it is to be a true African. Getting into our 4×4 and towing our off-road caravan into any direction we choose with the benefit of nature right on our doorstep is an amazing blessing”.

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