Good things come to those who wait

In the morning game drive we saw a lot of different antelopes grazing is a nice open area. What took our attention was the two male impala that were fighting. At this time of the year this kind of battle is rare; they usually occur in April. As the fight went on we saw something unexpected; a leopard laying flat behind the tall grass. I said to my guests that it is not wise at this time to go closer to the leopard because it looked like he was interested in the two fighting impala – distracted by the fight they were not aware of their surroundings.

As the impala jumped up the leopard moved towards them and when they hit their horns together the leopard stopped and lay flat again. He continued doing this until he was close enough to pounce straight onto one of the impala (approximately seven metres).

Unfortunately, the leopard’s presence was given away by the female impala that were grazing close by the two fighting males. The leopard immediately realized that he had to act quickly if he was going to get away with a meal. He ran towards the impala, taking advantage of their confusion and jumped onto to neck of a female impala. The others never looked back as one of their kind was being suffocated. I did not stay in the sighting for too long as my guests were crying, but afterwards, even they admitted that it was a sighting of a lifetime.

Nelson – Kapama River Lodge

“Flying ants”

What causes “flying ants” to come out?

Most people would know these winged creatures as flying ants, but in fact they are winged termites, “also referred to as the reproductive caste”. Winged termites emerge after rain in large numbers from holes in the soil through tubes made by worker termites.

Only a small percentage survives to form new colonies. Many are eaten by predators like birds, scorpions and many other hungry creepy crawlies. Many will also die from natural causes before they locate a mate or a nest site.

Studies have shown that it takes years before a newly established colony will produce termite swarmers, up to 4 years; with less favorable conditions, it may even take longer.

Wayne – Kapama River Lodge

History unfolding

Once again, history is unfolding in front of us. Over the last few days the elephants have moved from the far east to the far west of the reserve. We could not understand this behaviour. Nevertheless, they stopped in an area after this ‘migration’ and stayed there for a few days, feeding. As we approached the herd, we noticed that they had formed a protective wall, stopping anything from getting close to them.

As we waited for a chance to get a little closer, we noticed, in a small gap, that one of the females was giving birth. I immediately switched of the vehicle and told the guests to stay quiet because this was a very exciting moment. As the baby elephant was born, the female started eating the after-birth. The herd never broke their protective wall, hardly giving us a chance to see the new born elephant.

However, this was an amazing experience, one that I have not had in six years of guiding.

Nelson – Kapama River Lodge

Life in the bushveld

Life out in the Bushveld is still as rewarding as ever. Just today I had yet another amazing game drive. My hope was to find the elephants and the pride of lions and we were lucky enough to do just that. We had amazing sightings of both animals. The elephants just walked right past my vehicle, eating and not having a care in the world. And above all, there were very young elephant calves playing around, not yet knowing how their trunks work.

Then from there we made our way to where the lions were last seen and luckily they were still in the area. Once again, the placement of the vehicle couldn’t have been any better. The lionesses and the cubs walking and playing in front of us; the cubs were falling all over and tackling each other. And to top it all off, one of my guests remembered a tree I had pointed out to them and we probably spent about 5 minutes looking at the tree and taking photos of it. This was their first ever safari experience and I believe I made them fall in love with the bushveld.

Jakes – Kapama River Lodge

The famous cheetah brothers of Kapama

We set out early this morning as always, not knowing what to expect for the day as Africa can be unpredictable some days.

The main focus for the day was finding some cheetahs. We knew that this was going to be very hard as they were seen the previous day in a certain area that is always hard to find them, so we started the drive in nice manner seeing some plains game such as baby impala as well as a baby zebra.

As we come across the first tracks of the cheetah we also see that some buffalo were in the area so first thing that comes to mind is that the cheetah might have been chased off. Not far from the tracks, we run into the buffalo, still having a nap. Sitting there talking about the buffalo my tracker hears one of the cheetah call so we head to the area.

Not long after starting to follow the cheetah calling, we find the one male, calling out to his brother. While following him around for a bit we suddenly hear calls coming from another direction so we go around to see if we can find the other one and we did. The calling went on for a long time as the to brothers seemed to miss one another each time.

This went on for about 20 minutes after which they finally met up with one another. This was so great to see. One of my guests had tears of joy. This was truly an experience of a life-time to see how cheetahs relocate one another. We stayed with them for about another 10 minutes after they have come together just to watch them interact with one another. To see the bond between cheetah brothers was a great experience for myself and my guests.

Johan (J.T) – Kapama River Lodge