Vultures

This morning on my way to one of the dams where we usually find hippo’s I was distracted by a great number of vultures roosting in the trees. As they were all concentrated in one area it suggested that there might be a kill in the area. So the search began to find whatever did attract all these birds to this area and maybe, if we were lucky, find some lions there as well.

Unfortunately that particular area is covered with very thick bush and lots of erosion sites and gullies so it is not easy to get around, going in on foot also was not an option as the lioness with two three month old cubs was likely in that area and would not be feeling friendly towards us walking into her.

Eventually we narrowed the area down to just up the bank of the dry riverbed we were driving in, lots of vultures here and tracks for the male a lioness and her cubs. Unfortunately there was no way we could get where we wanted to go as the sides were too steep. We had to give up, the “hunt” does not always end successful. Luckily the hippo’s were close by and we had a very nice sighting of those lazying about in the water

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Big Herd of Buffalo

Last night was an eventful drive which started with a fantastic sighting of our big herd of buffalo. They were moving away from a dam after having had a drink. The herd, which consists of around 300 animals were quite spread out. There are lots of youngsters in the group at the moment and we watched a number of the young buffalo drinking milk from their mothers. Because the buffalo are usually mobile the youngsters drink from between the back legs as the mother is walking which is quite amusing as you often see the little ones with dung on their heads! As we were watching the herd there was an impressive fight between some of them. One of the females who looked as though she might be in oestrus was becoming very aggressive with both males and females in the group. On the road in front of our vehicle she had a hectic dispute with another female, clashing horns and knocking her down in the road. After stopping for drinks as the sun came down with a beautiful view of the mountains we set off on our search for lions. Whilst looking for the lions we were lucky enough to see 2 porcupines. Usually these nocturnal animals are quite shy and run into the bush as we come past. But these 2 porcupines gave us a great show by running down the road in front of us – even providing us with a good photo opportunity which doesn’t happen often. After a while we were then rewarded with a fantastic lion sighting. We came across a female lion and her 2 10 month old cubs. The cubs were being extremely playful with each other and as we found them the young male was playing with a leopard tortoise. He did not kill it but was very curious about it! The young male and female were busy entertaining themselves whilst their mother seemed to be on the hunt for dinner.

Story by: Sarah-Estelle Sangster-Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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Animals abound

On the two safari’s yesterday our guests were very privileged to see almost everything their hearts desired. It was absolutely awesome, they would ask if we had a certain animals, I would answer yes, and then it would appear around the next corner.

We started out on Dog Leg road and found some impala, while watching them, I turned my head and four white rhino’s were approaching the vehicle from the other side. The guests who were from Germany, couldn’t believe that these huge beasts were not afraid of the vehicle. Just then Richard, my tracker said he could see a large male elephant moving towards the vehicle from our rear. Amazing I thought rhino and elephant in the same sighting. But there was more to come. I was busy explaining a few interesting facts to the guests about both the rhino and elephant, Richard interupted me saying he could hear buffalo not to far away. We finished viewing the two larger herbivores and went to see if Richard’s ear were playing tricks. Sure enough they were not, we found the buffalo herd a little further down the road. Most of them were lying down chewing the cud, but one youngster kept staring at us quite inquisitively. Then from out of nowhere the elephant and rhinos we had just finished viewing joined the herd of buffalo. Three of the Big 5 in one sighting is extremely rare. Later that evening we located on the male lion and he gave us a great show by roaring and marking his territory.

If only every day could be like this, it just shows some days are luckier than others.

Dean Robinson

Head Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

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Quiet Drive

We recently experienced what was possibly the last of the summer rains, as luck would have it, this occurred during game drive time. After delaying our early morning drive until the worst rain had passed, my two brave guests from the UK and I ventured out. It was difficult to pick up any sign on the animals as all tracks had been washed away. Eventually we managed to track down a breeding herd of elephants, especially entertaining was a young elephant of about a year old who seemed delighted to plunge his trunk into every small puddle along the road. He also had fun stretching his trunk out to the limit to smell at us. It was also amazing the amount of chameleons we saw that night perched in trees, my eagle eyed tracker Respect said he spotted about ten!

 

Sebastiaan Janse van Vuuren

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

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