African Wild Cat

Our first sighting tonight was of an adult male African wild cat. It is more common to see these animals at night when they are most active but this cat was resting on the side of the road in daylight. Today’s domestic cats are believed to be descendants of the African Wild Cat, which were tamed by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago to control the population of rats and mice raiding their granaries. African Wild cats can be distinguished from domestic cats by their pink ears and their much longer legs. Pure African Wild cats are an endangered species and are only found in remote areas. This is due to a lot of interbreeding that has taken place with domestic cats.

Then after quite a long search we found our big herd of buffalos in the south of the reserve. They were quite spread out and once we found the start of the herd we saw buffalo around every corner. Some of the herd went to the closest dam and drank some water. 2 young males were practicing their fighting skills on the road in front of us. After dark we saw 3 lions. One adult female accompanied by her two 10 month old cubs. They we also found at a dam drinking water and then they moved north into the bush. As we followed they walked down a drainage line and the two cubs (1 male, 1 female) were playing happily, jumping on top of each other and rolling over each other.

This morning we braved the chill and went searching for rhinos. Eventually we were rewarded with a sighting of an adult female with a very long straight horn and her youngster. We also found lots of tracks for the male rhino who was closely following her trail. Otherwise there were some nice bird sightings. We saw 2 tawny eagles on a nest and 2 lilac breasted rollers perched in a tree surveying the area for prey. The Lilac Breasted Roller feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, occasionally lizards, crabs, and small amphibians. They take prey from the ground. Rollers are monogamous and highly territorial. Rollers are mostly migratory and have usually begun their migration at this time of year. However, due the unusual weather pattern this year and the late rain there are still some left behind!

Sarah-Estelle Sangster

Awesome elephants

img_4222We were on our way back to the lodge after having an awesome elephant sighting. I was reminiscing over the sighting when out the blue, a giant Southern African Rock Python was lying on the road not fazed at all that I almost drove him over. After stopping the vehicle I quickly jumped out to fetch a stick so that I could pick it up and show the guests. I was quite rushed as the snake started to get mobile so I grabbed a fairly big stick thinking it will do but I had underestimated the weight of the snake as when I went to pick it up the stick snapped and the snake managed to get away. None the less, what a great sighting…

Story by: Calvin Du Plessis-Kapama River Lodge Ranger

Enjoying their dinner

We were on our way to go and look for the elephants. My tracker had picked up fresh tracks and we were hot on the trail of the elephants when all of a sudden 2 rhino’s popped out of the bush.While watching the rhinos, the breeding herd of elephants emerged from the bush as well.As if that was not enough, our 4 young female lions decided to join the picture too. None were interacting, but it was awesome to see these animals together.After viewing them for a while, all the parties went their own way, elephants feeding, rhinos heading towards water, we decided to stick with the lions as they were busy hunting.We followed them for a while, watching them stalking and chasing waterbuck all over – unfortunately for their sake unsuccessful. After stopping for a quick drinks break, I decided to take a slow drive back to the lodge.

On the way, another ranger called in that he had found the lioness with the 2 ten month old cubs and new 3 month old youngster that recently joined up with them.I decided to respond as it was on the same route I was taking.We got there 3 minutes after the mother had caught a warthog, and we enjoyed another awesome sighting of cubs enjoying their dinner.What an eventful evening, unknowingly not the end…

I dropped my guests off at the lodge and quickly went to offload my cooler box before I joined them for dinner.On my way back, one of the other rangers, John, was waiting next to the road and informed me that he just saw the 2 big lionesses stalking wildebeest.Not even three minutes later we witnessed another kill, another meal…

Story by: Maggie Oosthuizen-Kapama River Lodge Ranger

Unexpected sightings

Yesterday I went on an afternoon safari with three Indian guests on their first trip to South Africa. The afternoon started slowly with a few brief sightings of Cape Buffalo bulls and two skittish White Rhino, who took one look at us and fled into the bush with their comical little tails curled up. Then our head ranger, Dean, called on the radio saying that the had the male lion and he was following it. We headed straight for the area and found that the male had led them to a female lion with three cubs who were feeding on a fresh kudu kill. We managed to see the cubs and the female but the male had eluded us. Knowing him, he would not have gone far.

On the way back to the lodge we saw a serval which the inexperienced guests tried to convince me that they were looking at a leopard cub. Respect also managed to spot at least three chameleons, who were fast asleep on various bushes. It was now time for dinner under the stars, warmed by a bushveld fire.

Sebastiaan Jansen van Vuuren

Senior ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Surprised everyday!!!

img_4163Our Disney adventures returned back to the lodge very excited and overwhelmed because of what they had seen on drive this morning. Wynand and Frikkie did an amazing job to show them the pride of lions and all the other interesting animals-giraffe, zebra, wildebeest etc. The most phenomenal sighting they had this morning was a zebra that was chasing a Black-Backed Jackal who managed to just get away without being trampled and kicked. It is a bit of an unusual sighting and the rangers and guests had a good laugh watching the jackal been chased by the zebra. Let’s see what nature has in store for all this evening.