Very often rangers and trackers will work as a team in order to successfully track a particular animal down. As a rule on Kapama we are allowed three vehicles per area of where an animal was last seen. For instance this morning on drive two leopards, that are currently mating, were found near our newest camp, Southern Camp. Shortly after being found however they disappeared into the bush as most cats will do in the heat of the day. This afternoon several rangers had come together and agreed to circle that same area in an attempt to relocate these magnificent and illusive creatures.
It always comes in handy when you can cover an area quicker. Very often leopards, once located, will begin to move off. They are extremely shy animals by nature and not nearly and overly confident as lions. Therefore having rangers on the standby on the roads around the area helps to locate them quicker. Tonight we managed to track down the two leopards and as per usual they disappeared into the thick bush not far off the road. We sat in anticipation listening to them as they mated and growled nearby. After sometime we could no longer hear their sounds and realize they had moved off in the opposite direction. Rangers were already ready and waiting on roads we believed they might pop out on. Unfortunately for us they decided with all the activity of the vehicles not to show their faces again but all the vehicles could follow their movements based on their audio. Had they decided to resurface we would have been ready and waiting.
Cindy – Kapama River Lodge
Yet another adventurous game drive on Kapama! There are so many different things to see on Kapama and so many can be seen on one single safari. For instance we came across a bull elephant that was browsing peacefully close to a water hole. There were a large termite mount in front of him and he was making his way to it. Then, all of a sudden, he carefully laid himself down on the slope of the termite mount and decided to take a quick “power-nap”. After a few minutes he stood up and continued his journey to the water hole. Something uncommon to witness on a game drive as elephants don’t often lie down. They are in fact too heavy and if they are down for too long they can actually crush their own organs. Therefore this was an extremely special sighting.
After that we continued with our drive and saw two male waterbuck proudly testing their strength against each other to impress a female standing close by. Some buffalo soaking in a waterhole basking in the afternoon sun, two very relaxed white rhino following the road towards a nice open feeding spot and so the list of endless opportunity continues.
And then to top off a spectacular afternoon while driving along towards a sundowner spot, a lioness with three young cubs came trotting up along the road. The cubs were trying their best to get the mothers attention. But little did they know she had other intentions for the night. She was eagerly looking for a safe location where she could keep her cubs while spent the night hunting in order to provide her cubs with food. We stayed fresh on her tail until they stopped at a waterhole in the road to drink. But the one cub was more fascinated by the black tip of the mother’s tail moving about as she drank. He gave one sudden leap for her tail and missed falling into the puddle of water. As cats are not fond of water the tiny cub was very unimpressed and disappeared into the long grass forcing the mother and the other cubs to follow. We watched as they vanished into the night and left them at peace to continue the drive. What a day of amazing sightings leaving us with an unforgettable experience.
Jani – Kapama River Lodge
The sightings at Kapama have been fantastic the last few days. We also have been blessed with two new calves in the game reserve. I was lucky enough to see our brand new rhino calf about three days ago; the little guy is about two weeks old now. The poor little guy is still trying to get used to his long legs as well as his new surroundings. There are so many new things for a youngster to get used to when they first arrive in the world. From the new smells to the predators they have to beware of.
I also had the opportunity to see our newest little addition to the elephant population; the little one is too small for us to even identify the sex yet. It’s fantastic to see how elephants come together as a family unit when there is a new addition. My sighting ended with thirty elephants huddled around there new play toy with the sun setting in the back round, all I can say is gorgeous.
Darren Roux – Kapama River Lodge
The choice is yours. To live a better life comes from the choices we make. We are very often fortunate enough to be given a chance to further ourselves, whether in a relationship, financially or more importantly in our careers.
Most recently I was blessed with the opportunity to move from being a tracker to becoming a ranger. Most people don’t realize that there is in fact a difference between the two careers. The studies we must undergo are completely different in each line of work. Being a tracker is a thrilling experience as there is no greater feeling of accomplishment when you finally find something you have been searching for. But the opportunity to become a ranger and experience a new side to this industry was one I could not refuse. I am grateful to Kapama for the opportunity to further myself, my knowledge and skills in this career.
As a ranger we get to experience different things such as working more intimately with guests and people interaction. Not only are we involved with the animals but with people as well. Often times can get tough especially in cases where guests struggle to speak English and we are forced to find other ways to communicate the wonders of the bush to them. Also sometimes guests come from very different worlds and might not necessarily have much in common with each other, and it can then become a challenge to entertain and keep all parties satisfied in their safari experience.
One thing I’ve learned through these experiences is that the beauty of this job is not always to overload with information, but to enjoy the serenity of the environment around us.
Good comes from joy in what we do.
Harry – Kapama River Lodge
Most visitors to Kapama have been sold by the idea of seeing the Big 5.
But what most quests don’t realize is that there are a lot more to a game drive than seeing the Big 5. The smaller animals and even the plants can be just as interesting and sometimes even more so. If you are ever a visitor at Kapama River Lodge, you will get the best of both worlds. The well qualified rangers and trackers will give you an experience that will allow you to see the best of the best (Big 5) and at the same time make you realize just how magnificent the rest of the bush can be. They will give you mind blowing information and will show you things that you might have never seen before.
Showing you things like trees that can help with illnesses and the role that every species in the bush plays, from the largest (Elephants) to some of the smallest (dung beetles and other insects). You will see that everything lives in a tight balance with the rest of the environment them, helping in some form or another to keep the ecosystem running smoothly.
But I am not going to tell you everything in my blog story; you have to come pay us a visit to hear all the amazing things that happens in the bush. So I will see you all soon and can’t wait to teach you more about the comings and goings of Kapama!
An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
Stefan de Weerd