This morning my guests requested a shortened game drive due to the fact that they check out and had to leave a bit earlier than normal. Normally this kind of situation makes us a little bit apprehensive, as we as guides know that it takes some time finding animals, and even though the drive time is shortened, we still would like to make the best of it for our guests and hopefully find good sightings with the limited time available.
Any way, we left and I couldn’t help but think that because of time constraints, it will probably not be such an amazing drive like we normally get. Boy, was I wrong…! Soon after leaving the Lodge we came upon two big Buffalo bulls wallowing in a mud pan mere metres from our front door. The original plan was to try and find Elephants as my guests just couldn’t get enough of these gentle giants and the Buffalo was just a bonus given the one hour we had to try and find some Ellie’s. As usual the bush did not let us down…
Not long after finding the buffalo, we found some rhinos busy with the standard morning “make-up” session also known as “mud wallowing”. We saw plenty of general game species, loads of good bird life and even though our one hour was just not enough to find some elephants, the other sightings we had more than made up for it. My guests were happy despite the fact that we were’nt able to find elephants for a last time, and nature once again showed us that it cannot be predicted, but also never disappoints…
Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge
During the past two days I hosted the Benesh and Hill families on safari, and what a great amount of fun we had. During our first safari we found a “crash” of 6 rhino wallowing in a mud pan, a big herd of buffalo and last but not least two young lionesses resting up in a dry river bed.
The next morning was equally productive as we found a pride of lions consisting of five females and a big male, rhino, buffalo and a solitary elephant bull. Then as we pretty much thought it cannot get any better, that evening we got the proverbial cherry on top!!! We got a call from one of our other guides informing us of a big male leopard that was found not too far away from us, and of course we wasted no time in getting to this “holy grail” of sightings.
Once again the bush did not disappoint, and me and my guests were equally happy about the past two days successes, as once again Kapama showed what it has to offer.
Sebastiaan Jansen Van Vuuren
Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge
Hope to welcome you back soon.
Because of the rain during the morning safari some of my guests decided to sleep late. After breakfast we set out again to make up for lost time. I wasn’t expecting much activity as it was quite hot by this stage… But were we in for a surprise!
We had found a huge male leopard a few hours before but struggled to follow him because of the rain. We now went in search of him again and were rewarded with a much clearer view as he climbed a few termite mounds and peered into the burrows, obviously in search of a warthog breakfast.
We were slowly heading back to towards the lodge, easing past a lone buffalo bull along the way, when one of the other rangers gave us a call on the radio. He informed me that there was some suspicious behaviour up in the skies and so we rushed off to investigate. Upon arriving at the scene we were astonished to see literally hundreds of vultures in hurricane formation directly above us. We watched as they came hurtling through the air at breakneck speed towards a dark object lying in the grass. It was difficult to see exactly what animal they were squabbling over through the writhing mass of feathers. Our first clue eventually came bounding up to us in the form of a baby wildebeest, clearly confused. It immediately became apparent to us that his mother had been killed sometime that morning. He ran up to the vultures, bleating as he went, searching for his mother. This caused the vultures to scatter and a yellow-billed kite that was “waiting in the wings” took this opportunity to make a half-hearted attack on the youngster.
We were amazed that the calf’s bleating had not attracted any predators as the sound is like someone ringing a dinner bell. Not long after a black-backed jackal arrived but was clearly more interested in the carcass than the live bait.
A little further down the track we stumbled upon a pride of three lions, one adult female, and two sub-adults (male and female). They were the obvious culprits of the murder as they all had full bellies and were now sleeping it off in the shade of a river bushwillow thicket, completely ignoring the cries of the young orphan.
This is one story which does not have a happy ending, however, as later that afternoon during the evening safari the lions began to stir again. They made a beeline straight for the wildebeest calf, made short work of him as if he were a rag doll and dragged him down into the riverbed to be eaten at their leisure.
All photo’s by Rob Overy
Cameron Pearce – Head Ranger, Kapama Karula
Hidden within the Drakensberg Mountains, just SouthWest from Mariepskop, lies the head and mane of a lion, the symbol of Kapama. Guests are treated each night during game drive to Sundowners that encompass this amazing sight and the beauty of an African Sunset.
Photo By: Roel van Muiden – River Lodge Ranger