Saturday, 8 March 2008

Look in to my eyes and you will see...

And I'm not referring to the Canadian singer Bryan Adams’ song. No this time it’s a different pair of eyes you’re looking into: the eyes of the notorious Mapogo male lions.
Thick fog and mist made visibility rather difficult on this early morning. The radio cracked out something and we found ourselves heading west- fast! Pieter wasn’t telling us what was going on, nor what we were going too see ... and kept us on the rims of our seats, holding on to the tank as WE flew through the bush! A coalition of five lions had killed a buffalo on a neighbouring farm and had just left the kill to the scavengers. Full-bellied, and with an almost staggering walk, they headed onto Djuma! On arriving close to the sighting, Efraim was already on the lock. We had to wait for a couple of minutes to get a view of the ghosts of Pieter's imagination, who were supposedly 100-odd meters away. When Efraim finally gave Pieter the go ahead to pull into the lock and the fog cleared up before my eyes, I was amazed about where we actually were. And there they were - Mr T and Shaka - or WE thought it was ... appearing like ghosts out of the darkness - one of the best sightings we have ever seen was unfolding right in front of our eyes.
WE enjoyed the scary company of the two Mapogo male lions - when another one came from the north. With a quick face rub he fell down and lay still next to his brothers. After some confusion - Pieter realised that there were more lions not too far away. The Djuma vehicles had all gone off, so there were other lions in the area. WE tracked along through the clearing mist and only then a couple of hundred meters ahead, two other males were also relaxing in the road. Eventually
WE had visual of all five Mapogos, on the road, lying down, really looking great. They are truly big, huge, humongous. Pieter’s description of them as being Spartan warriors is quite accurate. After the game drive ended, I took Sue and Nontlantlha, to go and see the Mapogos for the first time. Using the bubbaloo (which is much smaller than the tank), Pieter guided us in with me driving - "Jan turn off the road, and watch that space ..." the handheld croaked. With hearts beating at a seriously fast pace, a ghostly shape approached us edging closer and closer- slow but focused. With him passing less than a meter from the tiny babbaloo - poor Nonthanthla and Sue moved further away from the lion and on to my lap. The next followed, and one by one they all passed. Looking into their eyes - it’s something I can’t explain - I really just can’t! There is something about these lions, some thing that pushes me away, and makes us all want to run so fast at the sound of their roar, but once WE are with them, you are hypnotised by their immense power, grace and the secrets in their eyes ...
(Written by Jan Harm Robbertse)

On a different note ... there will be no drives on Saturday or Sunday. The reason is that Emily and I are getting married and some of the WE crew are coming to the wedding in Johannesburg. Also, Emily and I will be on honeymoon until the end of March and there will be fewer postings on the Blog. I will try and get the odd one out, but I am sure that you all understand ... it's in your nature.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your wedding. Have a very happy life together!

Anonymous said...

First and foremost CONGRADULATIONS Emily and Jan. We cannot be happier for you both. How about posting a wedding photo when you get back so we can share in your joy. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Best wishes!

Jan, your description of seeing the Mapogo males gave me the opportunity to relive the excitement I felt that day. I find it so hard to express in words what I have experienced, but you got it. It is in your nature.

We will miss your blogs for the remainder of March. April seems like it will be an exciting month at WE.
Best wishes to you and Emily.

Valorie said...

Was an amazing sighting, those Mapogo's.. and you guy's going back out there to look at them and having them pass by so close, sounds scary! =)

Also, Congrat's to Emily and Graham, wishing you 2 all the best on your marriage. *cheers*

Anonymous said...

Jan, it looks like you may have stumbled on a novel approach to picking up girls! Just take them to view the Mapogos & they'll be in your lap! lol

Emily & Graham, congratulations & all good wishes on your marriage!

Thanks WE!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Emily and Graham!
Wishing you many happy years together.


Anonymous said...

Emily and Graham,

Congratulations on your marriage ! May you have many happy years together !


Karen said...

BIG Congratulations goes out to Graham and Emily on your marriage!!
Wishing you the best and hope you have a very special honeymoon too. Looking forward to pictures that "hopefully" you will be sharing with all of us.
Best wishes for a wonderful marriage. :)

Jan my friend, you definitely have a way with words... really for sure!
It was an awesome sight seeing those 5 together and one can only dream of seeing all 6 together at one time in hopefully the near future.
Sue and Nontlantlha, I can just imagine the looks on your faces as you both eased towards Jan's lap and further away from the side of the Buggaboo as the Beasty Boys walked past. Wish I could have been there in person to experience with you.
I'll be looking forward to WE's return on Monday morning, to get my daily fix of Our Beloved Tank.... it's in my nature.

Have a wonderful day and an even greater tomorrow.

Karen (from Virginia)

Anonymous said...

Jan, another amazing story you told. Very exciting, you are a natural, for sure. Always look forward to your blogs.

Congratulations Graham and Emily!

Shiloh from MyAfrica-site

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Graham and Emily! Best wishes for you and your future together and Bon Voyage - Have a wonderful honeymoon!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Emily and Graham! There are I'm sure a huge number of people all over the world who watch the WE drives at Djuma and are sending you well wishes on your marriage.

As for Jan, your experience with the Mapogos was exciting and fun to read!
Eleanor, NYC

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Graham and Emily! May you have a long and wonderfully exciting life together!

Jan, I enjoyed your story about seeing the Mapogos! As amazing as they seem on this side of the camera, I can only imagine how awe-inspiring they are in person. Thanks for your descriptions!

BethP from MyAfrica-Site

LadyDoc said...

Best wishes to the newlyweds!

Jan, thank you for a wonderful post- beautifully written!

Anonymous said...

Rexon,I heard you have been ill. WE could all tell something was wrong with our friend. Not the smiling & happy Rexon we are used to seeing. You need to take care of yourself & let the Doctors do what they need to do. I know you will be in all of our prayers. WE miss you already.Take care. Ken

Raven-Camwatchers Cafe said...

Congrats to the happy couple. WE wish you many years of happiness. Looking forward to see a photo or two!
Fantastic description of a wonderful drive!
Seeing all 5 at once was truly remarkable.
Thanks for making this possible!

Susan R said...

The trip this morning was like something I have never experienced before! Thanks to all of you for allowing "us" to ride with you.

I live in Southern California and as I sit at my desk in my office I am transported to another world...what a blessing!