Embarrassed Lioness

When the bush decides to deliver, it really delivers. Even during a thunderstorm.

I had the opportunity to go on a night drive after a lion sighting was called in over the radio. It was extremely hot with temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius. About 20 minutes into the drive, the storms clouds started to build and the temperature quickly dropped.

We made our way to the waterhole where the lions were spotted. Just before we got there, it started pouring down with rain. When approaching the sighting, I saw something much larger than a lion at the waterhole. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a Black Rhino standing in the open. We hastily made our way towards it. Then we stopped.

Close to the rhino we saw two male lions lying down. Then two lionesses approached the rhino. They circled it and tried to look for a gap. The rhino stood its ground and ensured that the lionesses understood where they stand. The felines backed down and the rhino exited the area.

The clouds had developed to its fullest and a thunderstorm had broken out over the horizon. I was still sitting in the rain at this point.

After taking a quick water break, the lionesses wouldn’t give up. There was a lone wildebeest nearby. Both cats went into stalk mode and tried their luck. Unfortunately the wildebeest saw them coming from afar and headed off. At this point the males retreated into the bush so I lost sight of them.

lion-1

The felines looked as if they were going to call it quits for the night. As lions do, they plonked down, yawned and proceeded to have a nap.

lion-3

Or so I thought.

The duo got up again and moved off to another clearing. Unfortunately they messed up with some impala and a zebra yet again. To me it seemed as if they were becoming despondent and desperate. One of the females moved off towards a tree. Then she climbed up the tree and sat in it for a while.

Desperate

This looked like great fun, so the other female also wanted to join the action. She made her way up the tree too. Unfortunately for her, she fell out soon after.

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I didn’t see them attempt to hunt any further that night. It was such an incredible experience being able to watch these lions in action with the dramatic backdrop of the thunderstorms over the horizon.

lion-2

Warning 

One of the most fascinating aspects of being in the bush must be a sense of the unknown.

Tracking animals and eventually finding them feels like one of the most rewarding activities. My Friday morning started with some signs of elephants and there was word that they were fairly deep into the reserve. So this became the mission for the day.

After some time trying to navigate the map and following piles of dung, a trumpeting call echoed through the bush. I stumbled across a small herd of around five elephants. They seemed really relaxed and content. 

I watched as they casually fed amongst the trees and slowly made their way across the road and back. All of a sudden, a young male bull emerged from the thicket and wanted to investigate. These young guys are rather haughty and love trying to intimidate you with any chance they get. It approached the safari vehicle, flapped its ears, grabbed a trunk full of sand and threw it all over the vehicle. 



Feeling very proud with its accomplishments, the youngster walked past me and wandered off into the bush.

It still amazes me how quiet and stealthy these giant beasts are. Sometimes they’ll be standing right next to you in between some bushes and you can hardly see or hear them. If it wasn’t for the cracking of branches and the odd rumbling, it would be as if they were nonexistent.

Peek a boo

The New Year has kicked off with a bang and I find myself in a very different part of the country starting a completely new adventure.

I have started training and studying as a field guide close to the Makalali Private Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province. I have finally settled in and the surroundings are becoming more familiar to me. Opportunity waits around every corner and around every corner you might find something a little bit more curious than yourself.

I woke up this morning and took a step outside. Taking in the sound of the bountiful bird calls and insect screeches, I noticed something moving around close to my room.

Peek a boo

This little Dwarf Mongoose was very curious as to who was living out in the bush with it. It stood cautiously behind the wall for quite some time. Once it saw that I posed no threat to it, the creature revealed itself and moved casually across my courtyard.

dwarf-mongoose-2Visitor

There are many interesting things going on around camp and the reserve and soon there will be more exciting stories to tell.