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 escaped once more from the buffalo.
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!!!!
As we had new arriving guests coming to stay with us for four nights it was again interesting to realise how awesome their first day must have been. Firstly during their transfer in our open vehicles from the airport into the reserve, they were lucky enough to be welcomed by a massive male leopard walking down the road. This of course made them very eager to get out there and maybe they somewhat expected the safari’s to get even better.
Luckily our game viewing, as usual didn’t disappoint, and soon after we left for our first safari we got news of another leopard sighting with a mother and her cub. Obviously our guests were overwhelmed with joy, as not even they expected to see three different leopards in their first couple of hours here.
After dark, as we were heading back to the lodge, we came across a Serval, which is also quite a well sought after sighting.
Truly a first day they will never forget…
Ranger – Kapama Lodge
On last nights safari we had quite a couple of unexpected sightings. Besides tracking a pride of lionesses and following them into the sunset, chuckling at their playfulness, we also came across a Serval walking down the road. These long legged cats are quite rare to see as they tend to hide away very quickly as soon as they detect humans or vehicles. They have distinctly large ears which are very useful in helping them detect and locating rats, mice and other vertebrates in long grass. Serval’s are also considered to be some of the best “jumpers” in nature, and it’s amazing to actually watch them “pluck” guinea fowl or other birds from the air in mid flight, sometimes as high as 3 metres above the ground.
Just before sunset we came across a Puff adder, one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa, soaking up the last rays from the sun and the radiant heat from the road. Into the evening we saw a flapnecked chameleon clinging for dear life onto a branch being whipped around in quite a strong breeze. A very amusing sight….
Sebastiaan Jansen Van Vuuren
Ranger – Kapama Main lodge
The summer months are just about coming to an end now, with the cooler months pulling in fast. The time for the jackets and beanies is here. Along with the winter coming we say goodbye to all our summer visitors, especially all our birds such as the beautiful woodlands kingfisher, the different cuckoo species as well as some of our far traveling eagles! And with our winter coming we say hello to all our smaller nocturnal cats such as the elusive serval (Felis serval) and beautiful caracal which we battle to see in summer because of the long grass and plentiful water supply! So, all in all the bush is at the verge of a big change as we say goodbye to summer and welcome winter and all its wonders. All our young impala and wildebeest and buffalo and warthogs are all growing up and hopefully will be strong enough to pull through the winter.
By Joshua Beaton, Kapama Riverlodge Ranger.
It was a week filled with some of the most incredible sightings ever! And it all started with what was supposed to be a relaxed game drive focusing more on the flora than the fauna. As we were busy discussing some trees, one of the other rangers found a female leopard with her cub feeding on an impala very close to where we were. I responded, and we were spoiled to an awesome sighting of mother and youngster taking turns to eat. A herd of buffalo also passed the area, but luckily didn’t interfere with their feast… We stopped for sundowners afterwards, and on our way back to the lodge, came across the four lionesses’ busy hunting. Not even 5 minutes later, they were also feasting on a wildebeest. The next morning brought another leopard with her cub on a kill, as well as great rhino and elephant sightings. On another drive we were so lucky to find the lioness with her two youngsters playing around. The young one’s kept themselves entertained with a poor tortoise that accidentally crossed their path. Great drives for sure!!
By Maggie – River Lodge Ranger