Photo Story: The three amigos

By Caroline Edmonds
I recently visited the Kruger National Park with fellow director Rodney Nombekana. For people who don’t know Rodney, he is one of the foremost rangers in southern Africa and with him guiding the way, brilliant leopard and lion sightings are guaranteed. Rodney’s knowledge is so vast that what he doesn’t know isn’t worth worrying about.

On a chilly morning, Rodney drove us to the Chongwe with one goal – to find some male lions who hang out in the area and are sometimes seen away from the rest of the pride. To our delight, we found them. It would seem these three friends were on a boys’ day out, engaging in typical male lion activities – languishing in the open, unthreatened, chilled, not a care in the world.

Less than 20 metres off the road, not a vehicle in sight, we had them to ourselves! The two older boys were stunning, and from their likeness we supposed they could be brothers. The other amigo was slightly younger; his mane was not fully grown and he was not quite as chilled. Always looking around, this youngster was a real fidget.
Fidget had the air of a youngster being allowed to go out with the bigger boys – a real character – we couldn’t stop watching him. While the brothers relaxed, Fidget couldn’t keep still – a yawn, a quick scratch and then up, let’s have a wander.
He sauntered off in the direction of a small tree. When he got there he literally dived at it, a bit like a footballer tackling an opponent. In one seamless action he wrapped both front paws around the trunk and stuck his head through the fork of the tree. This lion was literally a “tree hugger”. The brothers eventually followed him and the three amigos settled down again. Not for long. Fidget was off again, looking at a far off wildebeest, having another scratch, a yawn.
As entertained as we were, the brothers ignored the antsy youngster. However, one of them did use the opportunity to take over as the tree hugger. 
Once again, Fidget got everyone up and moving again. He’d seen a small bush that he seemed to like the look of. The patient brothers followed him, and we decided to leave them in peace. We had spent two hours alone with them; a rare privilege. Thank you, my three Amigos, for an experience I will never forget.