Photo: Twitter/SANParksKNP/

Lions nap on road in Kruger during lockdown [photos]

On Wednesday, a pride of lions was spotted seemingly taking a nap on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Cam in the Kruger.


Photo: Twitter/SANParksKNP/

A pride of lions were recently spotted taking a nap on the road near the Orpen Rest Camp which is situated centrally on the western border of the Kruger National Park. It looks like the pride is taking advantage of South Africa’s national lockdown as the Kruger, which has been closed since 25 March 2020 like other wildlife parks, have been closed due to the lockdown.

“This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see,” Kruger National Park tweeted. “This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.”

Taking a nap

It is reported that park ranger Richard Sowry was out on patrol on Wednesday, 15 April 2020 when he snapped the pride sleeping on a road which would normally be busy with tourists.

While driving near Orpen Rest Camp, he spotted the lions on the road ahead and pulled up just five metres away to look at the unusual phenomenon. As he took photos with his mobile phone, the lions did not seem bothered, most of them apparently fast asleep.

“Lions are used to people in vehicles,” he explained. “All animals have much more of an instinctive fear of people on foot, so if I had walked up they would never have allowed me to get so close.”

According to the BBC, normally Sowry would only see lions sleeping on the park’s roads on colder nights in the winter, when the tar retains quite a lot of heat.

“Kruger is a very wild place,” he says. “It has been wild and it is still wild.”

Furthermore, Sowry says he is happy to share his photos with people who cannot visit the park right now because of the lockdown.

“These are difficult times for everyone and the intention was to bring people joy,” he says.

Going viral

Footage of wildlife has been a favourite among many on social media. Earlier this year, a baboon was caught on camera seemingly ‘adopting’ a lion cub and then grooming it – a scene which some believe resemble something from The Lion King!

It is reported that Kurt Schultz, from Kurt Safari, captured this once in a lifetime sighting on Saturday, 1 February 2020 while on his way back from a meeting in the Kruger National Park.

He told Latest Sightings that he had a meeting and found himself in the Kruger for the morning. He decided to take some pictures – when he came across the sighting.

“I first thought it was a female baboon but it was in actuality a young male baboon. The young baboon crossed the road and climbed up a marula tree. I waited for about 30 minutes before it came into view and was moving from tree to tree.

“The rest of the troop then moved away and the baboon was grooming and caring for the lion cub as if it was a young baboon. I spent about one hour at the sighting and decided to leave.”