More lion interaction at Kapama!

img_3035This evening was yet another eventful evening on the reserve.  Four of our female lions were found on a zebra kill earlier in the day so we set off from the lodge to see if we could relocate them in the area. At the beginning of drive the lions were sleeping a short distance from the zebra kill. Their stomachs were full and unfortunately for us at that time we were only able to see the black backs of their ears in the short grass. So we decided to try our luck elsewhere and return a bit later to check up on them. As we drive away from the sighting we saw some wildebeest and warthogs. Then as we passed the next turning my tracker turned to me and told me to reverse as he thought he could see something lying in the road in the distance. Sure enough when we reversed and went to look there was a young female leopard in the road! With cameras at the ready and in total silence we approached slowly so as not to disturb her. Our plan worked and we were able to watch her and take some amazing photos. Soon afterwards she stood up and walked along the road, marking her territory as she went. Still maintaining a distance we followed her for another 10 minutes until she left the road and went into thick bush. Satisfied with our sighting we left her and went for a sundowner to celebrate our success. After a lovely drink in an open area with a herd of waterbuck grazing nearby and an African fish eagle perched on a nearby tree singing his famous song we decided to go back and see if there was any action at the lion kill. We couldn’t have been more fortunate with our timing. When we got there the 4 young females were lying in the road. As we approached the kill, an older female of 4 years old approached with her two youngsters. The 4 lionesses in the road promptly jumped up and ran back towards their kill. The older female chased them away into the bush. She seemed to have the upper hand – probably because the other 4 young lions were tired and bloated! She then patrolled the road whilst her youngsters fed hungrily on the carcass. Every now and then the mother would run into the bush and we would hear a commotion from the lions in the darkness! One of the other rangers had a fantastic hyena sighting and was also fortunate enough to see an aardwark. Never a dull moment at Kapama!!          

 Story by:Sarah Sangster-Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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Interaction

The events that unfolded on game drive this morning were truly incredible. It had rained last night and so the tracks left by the animals in the previous evening/early morning were very clear. We first found a big male rhino who was alone and mowing the grass around our honeymoon platform! After leaving him we drove to one of our dams and found a small herd of buffalo having a drink. We then went to the area where one of our male lions was last seen to try and relocate him. When we got to the area we found tracks for a number of lions and followed them round in circles!! Eventually we were rewarded when we found a young male lion in the bush close to the road. As we approached we could see that he was quite stressed and he was making contact calls to try and find his mother and sister. At only 1 year old he is unable to hunt for himself and still relies on his mother to provide food for him. He is unusually large for his age and as we had seen tracks for the dominant male in that pride we came to the conclusion that the older male had probably chased him away. After a while we left him to see if we could find his mother and sister in the area close by. 15 minutes later we found them and as we followed them it became clear that they were trying to find the young male. As they got closer to his position they picked up some speed and ran through the bush. Unfortunately we were unable to keep up and temporarily lost their visual. We decided to go back to the young male lion and when we got there we were delighted to discover that the young family had been happily reunited! The three of them walked slowly through the bush and we waited for them on the road for a good photo opportunity. Suddenly they stopped and all looked in one direction. From that direction we could hear alarm calls of impalas. So we drove slowly around to where they were looking and crossing the road in front of us was an older female lion….followed by her sister….and bringing up the rear was a beautiful adult male lion. What a treat!! They walked into the bush directly towards where the other 3 were standing and after some commotion the three younger lions came running at high speed out of the bush as fast as they could. The older lions were chasing them! The young lions got away fast and we watched as the older lions walked around slowly trying to pick up on their scent. After a while they gave up and went into the river – probably to sleep for the rest of the day! We were all so excited to see the two groups of lions interacting with each other and recounted the story all the way back to the lodge. A truly surprising and exciting morning all round!

By: Sarah Sangster- Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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