What do most guests always dream of witnessing? Yes that once in a lifetime opportunity to witness lions making a kill. Last night there were guests who had the opportunity to see two lionesses kill a buffalo. It was a relatively large female buffalo who had hurt her leg and was already vulnerable as a result of this. She was also too far from the other buffalo in the herd and the lionesses took full advantage of this.
There is a lot of mixed emotion that is usually attached to witnessing a “kill” and this varies from person to person. Some people think it is really awesome to watch the whole event as is occurs and hearing the animal sounds coming from both the lions and the animal they are attacking. Others understandably feel sorry for the buffalo and often sit there watching with their ears blocked or eyes shut. And then there those that can’t bare to see the sight of blood and want to go home and not watch at all.
But in the end when everyone returns to the lodge again they are happy and proud to say that they saw two lionesses kill a buffalo.
The mere mention of the word “rat” makes many people cringe, but there is something special about the Greater Cane Rat. It is a giant rat with a relatively short tail and a more rounded head and face than your typical house rat. These rodents live in or close to water where among other plants they feed on bull rushes, sedges and reeds. The cane rat gnaws these plants off with its massive incisors. Cane rats are superb swimmers and spend the day resting or sleeping in a shallow bowl of sand or a bed of plants or grasses.
We discovered a cane rat sleeping below the pool deck at Kapama Main lodge this morning and it took little notice of all the spectators watching over it.
This morning we were extremely fortunate towards the end of our drive as all the mornings hard work had finally paid off in the end. We found lion tracks not very far from the lodge. It was the tracks of the two females with the three cubs and they looked like they were on the hunt. We could tell this because the tracks zig zagged all over the place. After about two hours of tracking on foot, we found one lioness who was full of blood. She was on her way to find the cubs that had been left behind in the final attempts of the hunt which we now knew had been successful. After locating the cubs, she led them to a freshly killed warthog close by. The cubs immediately started playing with the carcass and practising their killing hold skills which will aid them greatly in the future when they start actively hunting for them selves or as part of a pride of their own. Being typical lions; once they were full they all looked for a shady tree under which to catch up on some sleep.
All my guests arrived early this afternoon for game drive and all of them very keen very keen to start their first adventure into bush. The first 30 minutes of game drive was very quite as the wind was blowing quite strongly This often unsettles the animals and they go into hiding among the thicker vegetation to avoid the wind. After a while we eventually found some elephant tracks which we started following. These took us in a figure of 8 and as we continued we eventually found the tail end of the elephant herd as they grazed among the tree line. The sighting was magnificent. Among the herd there was a youngster who was running around after one of the older females which had a branch in her mouth. She was trying to keep the fresh shoots to herself, but through his persistence she finally gave in and shared her branch with him. We watched the herd as the sun started setting over another amazing day in the African Bush.
Story by: Richard Venter-Kapama River Lodge Ranger
Our afternoon drive started off quite well. We had a very nice sighting of elephants feeding and crashing through the bush as only elephants can. Two young males were pushing each other around like two young kids that had watched too much wrestling on TV. After the elephants, we found a very active baby white rhino, running up and down the road. All the while mom was keeping an eye on him…thinking, mad little baby of mine.
We decided to stop for a leg stretch and a drink while the sun set over the Drakensburg Mountains.
After our drinks stop we continued on our way searching for some of the most secretive animals in the bush. We stumbled upon a rather brave lesser tailed Bush baby. We spotted him by the reflection of his eyes in the spot light. Normally they are very shy and jump away when you come closer, but this little guy decided he was going to put on a show. He was on some serious mission, jumping from tree to tree and into the road and back again. Because we were so memorized by this show, we did not realize that we had a swarm of insects in front of the spot light and the car head lights.
Before we knew it, the bush baby was on the bonnet of Land Cruiser game drive vehicle snatching the insects up for his supper. After he was satisfied with his dinner, he jumped off and bid us farewell.
Looking at him feeding made us feel very hungry too, so we headed back to the lodge for our own Boma dinner around the camp fire.
Story by: Warren Jacobs (Buffalo Camp Ranger)