The lions were hyper-aware of our "pride of 9" but they really seemed totally unconcerned with our presence. The big male kept his eyes right on us but he didn't even flick an ear. Some of the females groomed one another, one stretched her length up against a nearby tree, no doubt sharpening her claws case they were needed. What an amazing experience! I never thought to be out of a safari wagon and standing in front of lions with nothing but air between us. We walked off slowly and quietly, back to the protection of the wagon and no one followed us. Though I can't say I was frightened and no one else seemed to be either, all of us were just as tensely aware as that alpha male lion. Who could ask for anything more from an African safari ride/walk? Among the many animals seen in Kakuli were: lions, leopards, impala, kudu, warthogs, elephants, hippos, cape buffalo, crocodiles, waterbuck, baboons, and monkeys, spotted hyenas. We were also fortunate enough to see some animals new to us: an antelope called a Puku (small and delicate), 4 species of mongoose, scrub hares, a female leopard and her teenaged cub, elephant shrews, spotted genets, African civets bushbuck, Cookson's gnu, and two new owls: Pearl Spotted Owl and Verreaux's White Owl. A little side note about the wonderful civet. Someone, whether a wag or misguided capitalist or something more bizarre, decided once upon a time to farm civets! Now for their beautiful coats or to make sure they didn't become extinct! No, he wanted to collect their "poop" to make a coffee drink! Ugh, you say, and we all agreed. Why did he pick civet poop over some other critter's scat—no one knows. But he really did try to sell the stuff. Alas, his product was a market failure. We can only hope he released the poor captive civets back in the wild where their poop could become part of Mother Nature's cycles of life.
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