Last night we where very privileged to see a male leopard and if that was not enough he also made a warthog kill!! All our vehicles went trough the sighting and he was very relaxed. And short there after we found another leopard which was a female!!
By Johan Kruger
It had been two days with no lions sighting worthy of mention. A glimpse here and there of the great cats that had eluded us the last four drives as they moved in and out of the reed thicket along the Klaserie River was hardly what we would call a good sighting. One female lion had recently given birth in the reeds and that was the reason for their behavior at the moment. They emerged in the cool of the evening to roam the reserve in darkness, searching for the food required to manufacture milk for the cubs and themselves. No food meant no milk and, therefore, no nourishment for the young.
We followed tracks for most of the morning only to find they headed straight back into the reed thicket. We had a feeling this would happen so the same afternoon found us back in the area to see if they had emerged. The tracks indicated they had come out and had a bit of a walk around but returned once again to the sanctuary of the reeds. We left the area and soon found the tracks of the four young sub-adult lioness’ about 2km from where we left the adult tracks. Excitement filled our veins as the thrill of the chase was back in full force! Brett, Roel and I immediately split up in the area checking which roads had been crossed and which ones hadn’t. We quickly narrowed the block down and decided to continue on foot. Little did we know these cheeky devils had a plan of their own. The more we followed the more they walked and the more they walked the more we followed. Needless to say we spent much time chasing our own tails as the lions crossed their own track and doubled back repeatedly. Again we would return to the lodge empty handed but no discouraged.
The following morning saw Patrick in the area and, as Mother Natured wanted it to be so, he almost immediately found fresh track of the same four females we were following the afternoon before. Within ten minutes he had a sighting set up in the shade of a Weeping Boer Bean Tree and all the fruitless efforts of the last few days were forgotten. As the cameras clicked away I played the events of the last few days back in my mind and couldn’t help but wonder if those four rascals were actually laughing at the Rangers who were huffing and puffing after them through thorns and ravines.
By Paul Daniel
The Smaller Things…
Sun and warmth have returned to Kapama after multiple days of overcast skies and cold weather; just in time for a new set of guests to enjoy our bushveld. After driving around in the wind and cold there isn’t anything that beats a nice leisurely game drive viewing the smaller side to safari. When the day is warm, afternoon game drive is best spent near and around water holes, dams, and pans. Animals like giraffe, nyala, kudu, rhino, and buffalo come down to drink and revel in the warmth just as much as we do.
Game drive this evening consisted of a fantastic sighting of giraffe browsing and drinking, two handsome male nyala meandering slowly around a dam as the sun set in the west in a splendour of color only glimpsed here in South Africa, four rhinos grazing slowly in the bushes, and a sundowner complete with pearl spotted owlet calls, cricket chirps, and Amarula. A white-backed vulture returned to a nest carrying dinner for the young just as we came to a halt for our short break. And as we began again hippos called out in laughter from their watery home and allowed us an up close and personal viewing of their young one. A short tracking session for lion ended with a great sighting of smaller spotted genet and a civet hunting close to the vehicle. All this and a delicious 5-Star meal cooked when we returned to River Lodge.
There’s nothing better than sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the smaller things in life…it couldn’t be better!
By Noelle DiLorenzl
Well there we go ladies and gents another week or so gone by with updates on how our animals are doing and a few other stories.
for those who don’t like snakes very much don’t worry there will only be two every month unless someone would like more, im a snake fanatic so i thought i will give everyone some information now and again.
The snake of the day will be of our local resident here at the lodge, not to worry she wont do anything if you leave her in peace.
The guys here know by now that i am crazy about snakes so they kept it from me for awhile till i discovered it today, they are afraid that i might just go and play with it.
A lovely estimated 1,2meter boomslang Dispholidus tyus. For those who don’t know the boomslang is the most venomous snake in southern Africa.
Just a couple of interesting facts quickly before i tell you about the venom and what it does.
The color variation in boomslang is greater than in any other snake in southern Africa. Juveniles are light brown to grey with a stippling of blue which is why they are usually confused with the vine snake Thelotornis capensis. The adult females will be a light to olive brown with a dirty white belly and males might be green to olive green with or without black interstitial skin. The adults usually get confused with the black and green mambas Dendroaspis polylepis and Dendroaspis angusticeps.
Apparently our lovely lady has been a resident for the last month or so. Seen many times basking in the sun high up on one of the branches, boomslang unobtrusive and very shy so will always stay away to avoid confrontations. Spends most of the day in shrubs and trees.
If provoked it will inflate the neck area twice the original size to warn off any treats and tries to escape it very rarely bites, most victims are snake handlers. That old tale where a snake just drops from a tree and bites for no reason, come now. You basically have to grip it mid body shake it around and provoke it really badly before something serious might happen but i wont recommend that you should try it. It has slow but very potent haemotoxic venom; it affects the blood system and has to be treated within 24-48hours.
Things to look out for:
· has enormous eyes and short stubby head
· may inflate the neck and most of the body under serious provocation
· spends most of the time in trees and shrubs
· active during the day
Story by: Casper Marais- Kapama River Lodge Ranger
On Tuesday afternoon we headed out for our afternoon game drive our aim the four sub-adult female lions. Before we left River Lodge I had mentioned to my guests
(a wonderful family from Israel) that the lions were going to be really difficult to find, the reason for this being they hadn’t eaten for about three days and therefore really hungry.
When lions are hungry and are keen to eat they can cover huge areas searching for prey this makes looking for them really difficult but when its left to the professionals (i.e. Brett and Rodgers ) its made a little easier. But none the less back to the lions, about twenty minutes into the drive we found what we thought was fresh spoor (tracks) on the edge of a well used road which makes it difficult to differentiate between fresh and old tracks. We stopped our vehicle got out and started working the tracks we followed them for about five minutes when I realized this could be a whole afternoon of tracking I then gave my hand radio to Rodgers my tracker and asked him to follow the tracks while I went back to the vehicle. Once back on the road myself and Rodgers were in constant communication. While I circled the block looking for more tracks, Rodgers followed the others through the block we did this for a long while all the time following the basic principles of tracking these being if you lose the trail circle back and start from the last one you had,
Eventually we got word that there were some Rhinos nearby they were relaxed and at a water hole drinking. I decided to leave the area of the lions for a while and go and view the rhino’s this was a really great sighting with a female rhino and her calf having a drink after having a wallow we could see this by the mud that was smeared on the side of the rhino. After a short time these two very large grey animals moved off and we eventually lost the visual.
Once we had left the area of the rhinos we moved back to the trail of the infamous lions, mean while all the time we were away from trail Rodgers was getting even hotter on the trail, the tracks were getting crisp and the grass was still moving from the foot steps of the size paws of four female lions. Once we saw this we knew they were nearby just a few more steps and we should have them. So forward we go the tracks eventually pop out onto another road here it looks like they started running maybe we were going to see the cats on a kill. Soon after this the tracks became more relaxed again. We then found a place were it looked like they lay down.
Now two hours had past and many steps have been walked we were getting towards sunset the light was getting low and it was getting dangerous to keep walking. Just as Rodgers was picked up by the vehicle just around the next corner over the hill there they were all four lions laying resting after a long day and night of hunting but with no success. Well this followed by a great sundowner took us to the end of the great day of tracking the lions….
Story by: Brett Leask- Kapama River Lodge Ranger