Duba Plains – where new year celebrations get interrupted by lions

At Duba Plains we had the privilege of sharing the last day of 2015 with Blasi & Irene from Switzerland, and Bruce, Sarah & Wendy from the States.  They are all first-timers to Africa and we were keen to show them the ways of the bush.  We planned a special bush dinner for them to end the year underneath the African sky with good food, choice wine and new friends.

We left camp late afternoon to go do setup for the dinner at a spot about five minutes away from camp.  Once setup was done and the sun had set, we lit the fire and the ring of lanterns and luminaries (brown paper bags filled halfway with sand to hold a candle).  Then all we had to do was wait for the radio call from the guides when they were close by.

But, as usual, Mother Nature and her gang had their own plans.  As we sat around the fire waiting, one of the waiters spotted a lion about 150m away.  Upon shining a torch in that direction, the light met three pairs of lion eyes – two females out in the open, and one in the bushes which turned out to be a young male.  They were slowly making their way closer to us, and we decided it was best to rather get back on our vehicle.  We drove closer and watched them rolling around in the grass and playing.

Two moved right up to the circle of light and curiously tried to sniff at the lumiunaries, which they soon realised were hot.  Unable to identify this strange new object from its smell, they started pawing at the light until it went out.

At this point we had radioed the guides to let them know what was happening at the dinner spot.  When they arrived with the guests, they followed the lions for a bit as they had then moved around our area and were heading into the bushes.

When the lions had moved away the staff could get back to the ground for the last dinner prep.  Chef Pickard prepared some deliciously crispy flatbreads on the fire to accompany the cauliflower soup, which we enjoyed around the fire.  For main course we moved to the table to enjoy a family-style service of turkey, steak & bream prepared on the fire, with sides of vegetables, salads & creamy mashed potatoes.

Certainly a memorable end to 2015.  Happy New Year to all!  May the adventures of 2015 multiply in 2016 and may you be surrounded by wonder and beauty wherever you go. Pula!