Lion & Buffalo interactions

This morning while on drive we found the pride of lions on lodge road. We followed them when a flock of guinea fowls started calling alarm having seen the lions. The alarm call aroused the attention of the herd of buffalo. The buffalo stood up and started charging the pride of lions in fear of a new born calf. The pride split up and ran for safety in the bushes. After a while the buffalo settled back down but where still very alert. We stayed with the herd for half an hour to see what the buffalo might do if the lions returned, but they didn’t so we left the sighting and carried on back to the lodge.

 

Wesley Lombard

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main lodge

Dark Chanting Goshawk

Yesterday we saw a Dark Chanting Goshawk sitting in a Knob thorn tree, north of Mamba dam, busy feeding on another bird. We could not identify its prey at first but as we approached we found that it was a Crested Francolin (Spurfowl). The Goshawk had already eaten most of the meat. We stayed in the sighting for about half an hour when we noticed another bird of prey on the southern side of the dam. As we had a closer look we saw it was an African Hawk Eagle. The Hawk Eagle did not look interested in the Goshawk at all, as we expected, as they frequently rob other smaller raptors of their prey. We left the sighting, with the goshawk still feeding on its prey, undisturbed by the bigger, more aggressive Hawk Eagle on the other side of the dam.

 

Freedom Mabunda

Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Why are the large ones vegetarian???

The answer a lot of people are looking for is, why are the larger animals like hippo, elephant and rhino vegetarian and not meat eaters?

 

Well to be able to sustain such a large body one needs a lot of food to be able to function and survive, so if one looks at it with this in mind it starts to make sense, because plants are much easier to get hold of and they are abundant anywhere.

 

If a hippo had to eat meat it would have had to hunt and this task is not one of the easiest in nature, even so for the mighty lion that specializes in hunting, it can become very difficult at stages.

 

A lion needs around an average of 6kg of meat per day. A hippo or elephant would then probably need around 80-100 kg to sustain their bulky size and would make them eat around 3-4 impala a day.

 

So need a lot of food… then you stick to what is easy to find and does not require a lot of work.

 

Armand Steyn

Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Animal speeds

We often get asked by our guests how fast certain animals can run, so here are the running speeds of a few common African animals.

 

African lion                                     80-100km/h             

Cheetah                                           100-150km/h                                   

Leopard                                           85-90km/h                           

Elephant                                           40-55km/h                           

White Rhino                                     45-50km/h               

Buffalo                                              55-60km/h                           

Giraffe                                               60-70km/h                           

Zebra                                                65-70km/h

Ostrich                                              65-70km/h                           

Impala                                               65-75km/h                           

Hippopotamus                                 35-40km/h               

Olympic human athlete                   35-37km/h

           

So it goes to show… that the next time you are out on a bush walk and an animal decides to come for a closer inspection of us humans, the best thing to do is not to run, since they are almost all faster than us.

 

Dean Robinson

Head Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

 

 

Why does one see different species living together?

This is a question that I was asked again on last afternoons game drive when we drove past a collection of animals consisting of zebra, giraffe and impala.  There are many other species that will also form groups and in most cases it will be two ore more species, that have no direct competition for food eg zebra grazes and giraffe is a high level browser. 

 

Quite often you will see a heard of impala feeding under a tree where baboons are feeding, it has two advantages to the animals, baboons are messy eaters. Therefore one can say that they eat one out of three fruits they take off the tree, so for the animal on the ground that cant reach them it is a good opportunity to scavenge some of these highly nutritious fruits.

 

In both scenarios one and two, one of the roles for this is predator detection, the saying goes, “the more eyes and ears the better your chance of survival”.  The giraffe and baboon both have a higher angel of vision than say a impala and will give of a warning call once a predator is detected and this will alarm the other animal in the area to be on the lookout.

 

Armand Steyn

Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge