South Africa: Kruger National Park's southern boundary sits close to the very busy main N4 Highway connecting to Mozambique. Drivers got a shock on Sunday, (September 23), when a lion strolled down the road. Big transport trucks and thousands of holiday-makers use the route which is particularly busy on weekends. The lion was pinged on the "Latest Sightings" app by passersby. The lion was spotted on side roads and on the main highway before it was captured.

South Africa main N4 Route drivers get eye-popping experience

Traffic backed up as excited travelers stopped to have a gander and snap a photo on the section of road between Crocodile Bridge and the small town of Hectorspruit.

The lion was seen near the Marloth Park area, a popular weekend destination that borders Kruger. Crocodile Bridge is the southeastern-most Kruger Park gate and many lions in the area make it a popular section of the reserve. But it seems the King of the Jungle decided he'd head for a stroll and maybe frighten the life out of cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, lions do go "walkabout" occasionally, sometimes though territorial disputes. For some hours, the road was blocked off and traffic was diverted.

Lion safely returned to Kruger Park

The wandering lion was later captured and returned to the park, according to SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla, News24 reported.

The local province, known as Mpumalanga - The Cultural Heartland - has its own wildlife department, the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Board. They responded to the report of the lion walking down the highway and asked for assistance from National Parks officials from Kruger National Park. This is because Kruger National Park officers don't have jurisdiction outside the park.

Phaahla said that the joint operation resulted in the lion safely being transported back into the protected area.

The South Shishangeni lions

The lion was thought to be part of the family of lions known as the South Shishangeni.

Their main pride is the Vurhami pride. Big On Wild explains that "they are found in the southern section of the park and unlike other coalitions which are rarely seen, the Shishangeni males are frequently seen around the Crocodile Bridge area." In about 2015, four of them decided to set up their territorial home in the area. Their name comes from the area where they were born - the Shishangeni concession. Fathered by the Gomondwane males, the cubs were often seen out and about with an old male that was blind in one eye.

Lions sometimes leave the park through territory disputes

During their territorial claims, the males were thought to be responsible for chasing three lions out the park back in 2017.

In October last year, an honorary Ranger told this reporter that there was a coalition of lions from "different lion prides." About 9 or 10 lions chased off by the dominant males had gotten together, but there were lots of disputes. That same week, a lion was involved in a terrible fight and was severely injured. Our group of visitors to the park spotted it looking very sad and sorry for itself near the Crocodile Bridge camp.