Koinachas is a Hai||om name meaning `strong bulrushes`and refers to the stand of rushes (Typha capensis) growing in the middle of this artesian spring. Compared to the King Nehale waterhole at nearby Namutoni restcamp, this site is more popular with game as there is far less human disturbance and none whatsoever at night.
Although the supply at Koinachas is maintained throughout the year I`d never had much luck here prior to my latest trip. An early breakfast meant that our 4x4 was one of the first vehicles into the Park when the Von Lindequist Gate opened at 07:00 hrs. There had been some dry lightning overnight and the sky was largely overcast around dawn which made for a dramatic sunrise.
First stop was Dik-Dik drive as I knew there was a Leopard there after glimpsing it moving through undergrowth the previous afternoon.
Sure enough, the animal was having a Sunday morning lie-in, sprawled along a tree branch near the roadside, although not in the best position for a photograph.
Next was the short drive here, to Koinachas, which proved an excellent choice. A lioness and two cubs were lying to the right of the extensive reed bed so I switched off the engine and waited. Within minutes another pair of cubs trotted into view and we soon discovered that three lionesses and six cubs, all of whom were under the charge of a magnificent male, had been chilling here.
The temperature began to climb rapidly, and following in the footsteps of one of the females, the rest of the pride repositioned, one-by-one, to seek shade along the edge of a distant tree-line. Two of the youngsters obviously didn`t fancy relaxing though, especially when they could have some fun with a bit of rough and tumble thrown in for good measure!
Big cats are amongst the iconic species that symbolise Africa and its diverse wildlife. They also play an essential role in maintaining ecosystems. The populations of all these cats are declining rapidly due to uncontrolled human population expansion and the resulting encroachment on their habitat which reduces their natural prey. Poaching, disease, unsustainable hunting, and persecution by farmers and herders are just some of the many challenges they face.
Figures on how many lions there are in Africa today vary wildly, but what's clear is that numbers have decreased by around two-thirds in the last 50 years. According to the Africat Foundation there are just 600 to 800 wild lions left in Namibia, distributed between the Kunene Region, Etosha, and the north-eastern regions of Khaudum, the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy and the rivers bordering Botswana.
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