The ambush

Two days ago I was busy viewing two female lions by one of our dams, when the two of them slowly began to move away from the dam. I then noticed that they looked very interested in something. The “something”  turned out to be a small herd of Blue Wildebeest which were making their way down towards the dam to drink some water. Very excited I stopped,  turned off my vehicle and waited for the ambush. The ambush did not happen and the wildebeest walked straight past the lioness. Amazingly the lioness did not attack, instead she lay flat and waited.

The patience of the lion was amazing and she waited till the wildebeest were in the perfect position to be chased straight into the other female, which by this stage had disappeared and positioned herself perfectly for the pounce. The ambush happened… the wildebeest were chased by the one lioness towards the other but unfortunately they missed and were unsuccessful in their hunt .
It was still amazing for me…  for the first time in my guiding career I saw with my own eyes the thinking and precision that goes into a lion hunt, and no one should underestimate their intelligence.

Story by: Jonathan Bennett- Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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A LION KILL

Our dominant male lion was found with a young zebra kill this morning. It was still very fresh and had probably been killed in the early hours. There were tracks of lionesses and young lions in the area but due to the heat they were probably sleeping in the thick bush to get some shade. At the end of drive the male lion also moved away from the kill to find a shady spot but as soon as he saw the vultures circling above he went straight back to protect his dinner!

We also had the pleasure of seeing 4 Southern Ground Hornbills hunting. The Southern Ground Hornbill is one of Africa’s Big 6 birds, whose population has been rapidly declining for some years now. The total number left in South Africa is said to be only 1500, so for us the sighting was a rare and precious treat.
This evening we decided to go back to where we left the male lion this morning. We discovered that one of our lionesses and her two cubs had joined him. It was great fun to see the youngsters feeding and playing. At 8 months old they have not spent much time with their father and it was interesting to witness the interaction. They were cautiously approaching him and he was chasing them away every time! He was clearly too tired and full to tolerate their playfulness.
Story By: Sarah Sangster -Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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The day the Hippo kissed the Buffalo

It was the afternoon drive and my tracker and I decided to try and find the herd of elephants for our guest. The elephants have been quite difficult to find in the last month as they have been browsing in one of the areas on Kapama with very dense vegetation. One of the other rangers found them on the road and as we responded we came across some hippos out of the water amongst a herd of buffalo. What a rare sighting… we were so amazed that we forgot to take pictures!.

In the past I  have seen  a young hippo baby exploring the new surroundings out of the water, and again a couple of old buffalo males were close by. The baby decided to have a better look up close and to all our surprise the buffalo also showed interest in the hippo calf,  for a moment it looked like they were kissing, but most probably just smelling each other. The baby then went behind the buffalo male,  lifted up his tale with it’s nose,  and then ran for safety of the water as the buffalo turned around and chased her. Again no camera,  but a memory that will last forever.

You just never no what you will find out there, and thats exactly why we don’t get bored , because no two days in the bush are ever the same.

By:Hendrik Erasmus-Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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Theft in the bush

Our game drive started as normal with a few general game species allowing us to view them up close and personal. We were then privileged to see a herd of elephants as they chased the smaller Cape buffalo out of a mud wallow (size dominates in the bush). Having taken some awesome photos we carried on towards Klein Kariba dam. Jeffery my trackers keen bush eyes spotted where a leopard had dragged a kill across the road. He grabbed the hand radio and started tracking the leopard. It wasn’t long when he informed me that he had found a dead impala, not too far from the road. Unfortunately there was no sign of the leopard. We returned later that night and still the impala was the only thing we saw. Not much had been eaten, so my guests and I decided we would leave a little earlier the next morning and try to see if we could see the leopard before the other cars came into the area. As we got closer to the area to where the kill was, Jeffery said to me, “It’s not our lucky day”, as there were now fresh lion tracks in the area. We proceeded to the impala which had been completely eaten by the lion since his tracks were coming straight from the kill site. The male lion had stolen the leopards feast…serves her right I thought since she had not placed the dead impala in a tree for safe keeping as leopards often do. We did manage to see the thief during the drive and he was so full he could barely walk. The afternoon safari did not disappoint as it wasn’t long before Sebastiaan called in to say he had found a leopard. It was not far from where Jeffery had seen the kill from yesterday and was most probably the same animal whose food was stolen. Fortunately we still had the same guests so we made our way to the area and were rewarded with a few very good views of this illusive animal. She had now completed the “Big 5” experience for my guests.

 

Dean Robinson

Head Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

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Predators and their annoying enemies

Yesterday’s afternoon safari started off with an African rock python lying along a branch in an acacia tree. We were alerted to it’s presence by a flock of White crowned shrikes putting up quite a noisy racket. A while later they were joined by a tree squirrel which didn’t like the presence of the snake either and also made alarm for all to hear. The python was only around a meter long, still a very young snake, but a very real threat to something as small as the birds and squirrels. The interesting thing was that from the ground it was very hard to see and only the other animals’ alarm calls made us notice it in the first place. On the Safari we were helped also by a herd of impala that gave away the position of two female lions and three cubs, with their typical alarm calls. Another classic scenario is the Grey Go- Away Bird alerting animals of human presence. Goes to show … alarm calls and other noises in the bush are always worth investigating, as they may hold very pleasant surprises.

 

Sebastiaan J.v.Vuuren

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

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