Lion Cubs in Eastern Section

I just like to give an update, on the Lion cubs that were born in the Eastern Section of Kapama, a few weeks ago!

Recently over the past week, we hadn’t seen or heard anything from the tiny cubs, which started to cause some panic for the Rangers here at the Kapama Main Lodge! We thought that they hadn’t made it, which often happens with Lion Cubs (roughly only 20% of lion cubs make it to the age of only 2 years)

Then 2 days ago, we were following the male Lion through the bush, when suddenly! His attitude changed from being the relaxed Lion that we know, to being an intimidating foe! After a few seconds one of the Lionesses joined him in a extreemely aggressive display of parenthood!

It was then that we realized that this was the new location of the 3 cubs, as one of the cubs being curious, left the safe den site to come inspect what all the fuss was about.

It was a great relief to all the rangers at the lodge, when they heard that we had found the cubs!

We will keep you updated on all future activities concerning the cubs!

Till next time!

Lion Kill

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What an exciting game drive! After a rather frustrating morning tracking our big male lion and loosing visual rather quickly as he holed himself up for the afternoon in thick bush, we were finally rewarded in the afternoon. The adult male and two of our adult females, chased from their napping area by irate buffalos, headed south across an open plain. The females, out in front, started looking for anything interesting as the male sent marked, rolled in buffalo dung, and lazily followed behind. Then, ears laid back, muscles bunched, and tales slightly twitching the lionesses pounced. (Lion’s claws, when extended, are designed specifically to get stuck in the flesh of their prey so as not to loose their lunch after the expenditure of so much energy.)

The male, having watched from a safe distance away so as not to give up the game with his rather large and dark mane, then proceeded to commander the still alive and struggling warthog from the females. After twenty minutes of riveting action and much squealing, the warthog finally succumbed to death, as being half eaten by hungry lions will normally result in such a thing.

Guests happy…lions full…fantastic drive! Well maybe not for the unfortunate warthog…

In other news, the skies are clear and the weather is warmer. We are also proud to have a new addition to our Kapama family…a very wobbly and adorable elephant calf!

A cold morning

dsc_0032This morning was nice and cold, everyone snuggling up in their blankets as we started our morning safari.

Had a great sighting of the big herd of buffalo drinking at one of the waterholes on the reserve. Not even 200 meters from there were our two female lionesses and big male lion. Not fazed by any of this as they were lying lazily beneath some trees. While watching the herd I noticed that two young calves were born about a day ago. They were stumbling around and could not quite get their balance properly.

This evening we are on the look out for our leopards again, found some fresh tracks this morning that the trackers followed on foot, which then went off trail and moved into a thicket. It made it a little impossible to approach with the game viewers. So hopefully we have some luck with our illusive cats this evening.

As the sun sets again this afternoon, temperatures are expected to drop to 10degC.

Starry nights

dsc_00641The Southern Hemisphere’s skies have less light pollution than the Northern Hemisphere’s due to smaller land mass and lower populations. Out in the bush is the best place to view this phenomenon…far from cities, towns, and oppressive over-population. Guests, especially those from large cities like London, New York, and Rome, are in great awe of the magic and beauty of the heavens that accompany us on our nightly drives. As the sun sets over the Drakensburg Mountains in fiery colors of orange and pink the first stars start to twinkle about us. Venus is the first to present itself. In fact a planet and not a star, Venus’ glow is the result of sulphuric clouds that cover the entirety of the planet. The sun’s rays reflect off of these clouds thus casting a luminous, and quite bright, sphere into our night skies. Scientists believe that Venus was a planet similar to Earth but due to excessive Global Warming is now inhospitable, with roughly 470 degree Celsius daily temperatures and constant acid rain showers.

Slowly but surely as the night progresses more constellations present themselves. In winter time one of our main Southern Hemisphere constellations is Scorpio. Scorpio lies 176 degrees directly across the night skies from our main summer constellation Orion. The heart of the Scorpio, Antares the 15th brightest star in the sky, is a Red Giant located below the head. A Red Giant is a star in its last days of life and shines with an orangey red color. The San Bushman call Antares “The Fire-Finishing Star” as at some times of the year it sets below the horizon very late, towards the time of a fires dying embers.

Many stories surround the heavens’ constellations. For Scorpio, one of the stories goes as follows: Orion was a very boastful hunter in the days of the Greek and Roman gods. He one day bragged that he could kill all the animals on Earth. Gaia, the Earth goddess took exception to this and sent Scorpio, the scorpion, to kill Orion, which he successfully did. As Orion was a beautiful man, another goddess took pity upon him and put him into the sky for ever more. Gaia, furious at this, then put Scorpio into the heavens as well to chase Orion for eternity, thus Orion is ever-present in summer, and Scorpio in winter.

Our cold front seems to have abated today leaving us with clear skies and warmth…perfect for enjoying the stars this evening!

Noelle DiLorenzo – Starry Nights: Part 1 – 17 July 2009 Story

The Four Muskateers!

The last few days have been full of activity!

The elephants have been spending lots of time in the river and reed beds, coming out mostly in the evenings. They have now moved area’s and will probably spend a few days in this area before moving on! In winter elephants tend to feed around water holes and rivers as they need to drink water often.

We have had our hands full with the lions! Due the increasing numbers of Lions and the fact that the pride has split up we have been fortunate to see many different sightings!

Our two adult Lionesses have been hunting and living alone the last few days, while their daughters (all four living together) are becoming adept hunters in their own right – killing two warthogs in one night by themselves!

We have been monitoring the movements of our Lioness with cubs – both cubs are now walking with her and they cover great distances around the reserve! We are yet to see them again and look forward to seeing them soon as they get older.

With the moon waning into the last quarter the evenings are nice and dark again! This means nice sightings of nocturnal animals. We have had good sightings of Aardvark, White-tailed Mongoose, Porcupine, Owls and Bush-babies!

The weather has been fair and we are expecting another cold front to arrive in the next day or so, thus we are not able to pack away the winter woolies yet!

Rangers Story: Hailey Bunge (Kapama River Lodge Ranger)