Flat Tyre Leads to Exciting Sighting in HiP

This story by Kim Phillips was sent in by LatestiMfolozi – the platform that updates users on sightings from Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.

“Let me tell you a story of two girlfriends having coffee and chatting – as we tend to do – but this time not in a shopping mall but each sitting in our cars on a dirt road in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Reserve – for those who know the park between 25i and 26i.  When our mugs were empty we decided to continue on our search for wildlife.  As I started to drive off I heard a strange sound and realised my back tyre is flat and I mean flat; right down to the rim! Thankfully I have a compressor in the car and with Celia ‘standing guard’ (never thinking we would really need it, but girls will be girls), I got out my vehicle, attached the hose to the wheel, plugged it into the lighter and the tyre started to inflate, and like most girls with time on their hands began chatting again, this time we were out of the vehicle.

Suddenly, Celia yells “lions, lions!!” with disbelief  I glance to where she is looking and over the crest of the hill, not 20 metres from us, walk two lionesses (followed by another two – seen by cars travelling behind them). My adrenaline shoots through the roof and my decision process flounders ( I guess my hubby would say that’s quite normal) – should I get back in the car and let the tyre over-inflate and explode or continue pumping and not get caught in the middle of a pride with a flat or take photographs (which Celia is doing).

When the lionesses realise there are people in the road, they react by dashing off into the bush and peering out at us, it was at this stage that we see the glint of a car roof also cresting the hill and I can just imagine the conversation in the following vehicle – “Look at those two stupid bl….dy woman – what are they thinking”.  On very shaky legs I decide to stand my ground, “lionesses be damned” I have a flat and I want to carry on driving and looking for lion. ‘Oh yes, they are already here!’

Flat Tyre and Lions 1 Flat Tyre and Lions 2

The highly amused occupants of the other vehicle stopped and waited with us until my tyre was inflated enough to allow me to drive to a more open piece of ground (with no felines lurking) to put in a bit more air, and then followed us to the Mpila  Camp, this required a further three stops for a pressure top-up. We would so have won the May @latestimfolozi “Airborne” photo competition if anyone caught us on camera, ‘Because we both leapt in the air’! Members of the HIP sightings reporting network, response was, “we didn’t see a report on lionesses in that area, are you holding out on us” 🙂

Moral to the story – never, ever get out of your car unless you have to and always have Tyre Weld in your car. I guess some lionesses are probably sitting around their latest kill saying, “let us tell you a story – we came over a hill and saw some humans standing in the road ……..”


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