Mating Lions

An exciting morning occurred today for myself and my guests. After tracking some Elephants with a fellow ranger and having a great sighting we then proceeded to try and see if we could see some Lions before the guests had to check out. We responded to a sighting of our large male Lion and one female, (the mother of the two one and half year old male and female sub-adults), who were busy mating.

Lions mate for three to four days at a time. The actual mating occurs for about 45 seconds and they will repeat this every few minutes. The male Lion’s penis is barbed which makes for an uncomfortable process for the female but insures that the copulation is a success for him. Afterwards there is much growling, snarling, and possibly a slap or two in the male’s direction. All of this makes both male and female very grumpy and somewhat unpredictable. 

Our male was particularly surly this morning as we approached the sighting, growling and lunging at the vehicle. We gave him and the female a wide berth which allowed them to relax and give my guests fantastic viewing and photo ops. After awhile we decided to leave and as we did the male, in his grumpy mood, decided to show us who is really King of the Bush!

Great photos in hand, smiles on faces, and adrenaline going, my guests and I left the two honeymooners to themselves.

By: Noelle DiLorenzo – River Lodge Ranger

Wonderful Drives

The past 10 days or so have seen some amazing sightings for my guests, my Tracker, and myself. In four nights, we saw 63 different species of birds, 44 of which were new species for my Birder Ross. We had a Leopard cub stalking a herd of Buffalo and multiple Lion and Elephant sightings and a couple of Spotted Hyena as well. A few days later new guests and I watched three of the four Lioness sisters hunting Warthog and just barely missing killing one right in front of the vehicle. The other night other guests and I watched three Lions feed on a young Giraffe carcass while Blacked-Backed Jackal waited in the background to try and pilfer some meat and had the same Leopard cub get revved up a tree by a male Waterbuck. Last night our large male Lion roared several times while sitting serenely on a dam wall and this morning a female Lion repeated the performance. Many many more wild and wonderful experiences occurred during these very cold nights and warm days as all the animals on Kapama seem to be adjusting to winter in the most wonderful ways!

By: Noelle DiLorenzo – River Lodge Ranger

Buffalo Chase Around the Lodge

We came back from another great sighting with the Elephants and were on our way to where 3 Lions were last seen. There was already another vehicle following the lions. They were stalking a few Impala, crouching, observing, making plans for this ‘one moment’… but the Lions were quickly out-smarted by the “safety in numbers” and the quick response from the Impala through the African savannah. The Lions were heading south towards the Lodge with a small waterhole bordering the Lodge and just before they reach the water a big herd of Buffalo charged the Lions….the Lions were caught offside and scattered into all directions We did not even hear the buffalo from the game viewer, they came out of the ‘dark’ night with such a speed to disappear again in a few seconds. The Buffalo were upset, snorting, thrashing the bush, you could even here the thunder of their hooves loosening the top soil with their large body. After about 10 minutes it all went quite, the Buffalo were relaxed, but no sign of the Lions… I decided to circle the block looking for any Lion track, we drove that area for 20 minutes and eventually found then in front of the Lodge’s entrance… The Lions escape their life once more from Africa’s Big 5. It was a perfect ending close to the lodge…..the difficult part was to explain to the guests that the Lions are not in camp!!!!

By: Joe – River Lodge Ranger

Intruder Alert

This afternoon’s game drive turned out to be a cracker with our first sighting of the afternoon being two lions, a large male and an unusually large female, lazing the afternoon away in a river bed under the shade. As we were watching the lions I noticed movement about five meters away from the lions so while my guests attention was focused on the lions I looked to see what the movement was, to my surprise it was a puff adder moving across the river bed, most likely out and about looking for a mate as this is the time of year when breeding in puff adders takes place. Definitely a highlight of the afternoon.   

By: Ryan Roodt – River Lodge Ranger

Lions In Abstract

I found the four Lionesses on the old airstrip and took this abstract shot with the spotlight and the flash… It looks like she is really the main attraction. You can also see the silhouette of one of the guests on the right hand side, quite a contrast between human and animal.

Photo and Words By: Veruschka Jooste – River Lodge Ranger