The Hard Life of a Lion in Etosha National Park Namibia

Our days in Etosha National Park just kept getting better. On our third day, while driving along the southern coast of the Etosha Pan, we saw a large sandy body swaggering through the grass.

He may be the king of the jungle, but life hasn’t always been easy for this handsome guy. Mainly due to power struggles with other males, only one in five lion cubs live to see their second birthdays. If they are lucky to survive, when they turn three they must leave their pride or risk being perceived as a threat by the older lions. Between the ages of three and five, a single lion will roam the grasslands, often alone but sometimes with one or two other males. These nomadic lions remain bachelors until they are five. They then battle weaker lions to take over existing prides and the cycle continues.

Once a lion has a pride, life is pretty sweet. The lionesses do the hunting and child rearing. The lion’s main jobs are to defend his pride’s territory and procreate. Kayan tried his best lion roar (once we rolled up the windows and gave him permission), but thankfully the lion didn’t seem bothered with our male cub. Watching this lion saunter in front of our car, mark his territory and then disappear back into the bush was exciting. This time, we were careful not to stall our car.

Throughout the day, we experienced several animal crossings throughout the park. We will never look at Zebra crossings the same way again.

Elephants, giraffe and springbucks all decided to make their way in front of our wheels. The animals are weary of cars, which is good, but don’t let us disturb their activities.

Apart from the quiet gravel roads, the land in Etosha is undisturbed by humans. This carcass is a reminder that we were very much in the wild.

The scenery and animals are something that I could not capture on film no matter how hard I tried. Perhaps if I had this guy’s camera I would have done a better job.

In March, when I wrote Anyone Can Travel, Just Let Go, I said, ” By the end of our trip Kayan will know a zebra, lion and rhinoceros because he saw them in the wild, not because he was shown them in a book.” We are so fortunate that we were able to follow through on this prophecy. The kids saw all these creatures and more during our three day Namibian safari. Even though he saw hundreds of zebra and a few dozen giraffe, Kayan still consistently called a giraffe a zebra and a zebra a giraffe. However, he knows his lions.

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2 Responses to The Hard Life of a Lion in Etosha National Park Namibia

  1. Appappa

    Have you tried eating any of the animals you’ve seen?

    • Diya

      Yup. Kayan and I liked the liver-like taste of springbuck but Ava and Sandeep prefer gemsbuck. And to think I was once vegetarian. We’d be up for trying ostrich too. Not sure about Zebra, though… they seem too pretty to eat. What was your favorite?

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