For a few days the weather was quite uninviting – it had been raining almost non-stop. Nevertheless, my guests and I still went out on game drive, determined to find some animals.
The first two drives with my guests were extremely quiet so when it got to the third drive, I figured it should be time for at least one good sighting. So we all got ready for the rain and put our ponchos on. Little did we know what lay in store for us.
My tracker, Alfie, and I decided to try and find the elephants – they are not really bothered by the wet weather. Unfortunately, we were struggling to find fresh tracks of the elephants due to the rain. Therefore, luckily we were more than one vehicle in the area. After searching for about half an hour, in the pouring rain, we found them. a big herd in the road. Luckily for us they were in a thick area so we were covered by the massive trees.
After viewing the elephants and watching the babies playing and bullying each other, the rain finally started to die down. So my guests and I decided to continue with our drive but slowly make our way back to the lodge. On our way back, we came across three rhinos next to the road. At first they were just eating and minding their own business.
However, the young bull decided this was his day to try and mate with one of the females. Nevertheless, the female did not want anything from him and therefore started fighting him off. As they were fighting, they moved into the road, pushing and shoving each other in all directions. The other female just carried on eating, but when the young bull came near, she also stood her ground.
Unfortunately for this young male, this was not his lucky day. No females were interested in him just yet. But it is typical of young male rhinos to start showing interest in females. Fighting with them will also help to build up his strength as well as his experience.
This was such an amazing sighting to see right in front of the vehicle. And to finish it off, we came across a male and female lion on a wildebeest kill. Even though they were sleeping, as lions do for most of the day, it was an eventful and memorable day.
Kim – Kapama River Lodge
It is known as a battle of the fittest; some call it the survival of the toughest. This was two male giraffes in a battle field, contesting for their dominance on a dam wall just before sunset. It was a very energetic fight and full of action and took about 25 minutes. It is amazing to see what strength these creatures have in their necks alone.
Not long afterwards, we saw three 9 month old lion cubs approaching the giraffes. This was so surprising; their hunting instincts kick in at such an early age. When they were at a distance of about 15 meters, the giraffes noticed that they were being watched and stalked by these was baby lions. They stood still and stared at the baby lions for few seconds but this did not intimidate the cubs. They were so determined to kill that they were even joined by 6 more cubs of about 4 months old. The two giraffes were not courageous enough to wait for the encounter so they ran for their lives into the bush. These 9 lion cubs were unfortunately not fast enough to catch their running food. However, I think they should get an A for their efforts.
Nelson – Kapama River Lodge
Sometimes it is good to watch baboons and see how they behave and also how the big allow the small to practice their mating rituals. The way they fight for the food is also quite a sight.
I remember one of my guests asking me a question about why other baboons have got pink at their back. This, for me, was a very interesting question. The reason you see that pink is if the female is on heat or ready to mate with a male.
Another amazing fact about the baboons is that there will always be one of them sitting up high in a tree keeping a lookout for any danger that may approach.
John – Kapama River Lodge
It all started this morning, not planning to see anything. We just wanted to do a relaxed drive and see what happens. We started off well and saw a few buffalo lying down and as we drove a bit closer we saw the rest of the herd lying down; at least 200 of them.
After we left the herd of buffalo, not even 100 metres away, were two rhinos. My guests and I figured that this must be our lucky day; we had already seen two of the big five in such a short period.
Then, to my amazement, I heard on the radio that they had found two leopards not far away, so I decided to make my way. When we got there, the two leopards walked slowly towards the car and I thought to myself, one leopard is hard to find but two leopards is a sighting to remember.
After leaving the leopards, we drove for about another 1 kilometer and saw a pride of 13 lions lying in the outflow of a dam; all the cubs playing with each other.
After a while, we decided to make our way back to the lodge since the drive was as amazing as it was and to our surprise, we saw a heard of elephants in the road. What a memorable drive.
Bryan – Kapama River Lodge
Although well represented in places, its shy secretive ways and mainly nocturnal habits are reasons for it being rarely sighted. This is the most widespread of all predators since it has the broadest habitat tolerance of all. Beautiful, powerful and stealthy, it surely is the prize encounter on all game drives.
The leopard‘s method of hunting is stalking and then pouncing onto its prey, taking it by surprise. The large head and neck are essential for holding and subduing the kill, which is often hoisted up a tree to get it out of reach of other predators.
Shoulder height – 28cm
Mass – 37-63kg (Males bigger then females)
Social structure – solitary and territorial
Collective noun – a leap, or lepe of leopards
Gestation – 106 days (3.4months)
Life expectancy – approximately 20 years
Enemies – lion, wild dog, hyena and other leopards
Johan – Kapama River Lodge