Thousands of people go on safari every year, many with great expectations of seeing Africa’s beasts in action. Witnessing a hunt of any sort is often a very thrilling exciting insight to a way of survival long forgotten by modern day man.
I am privileged enough to work as a safari guide and have witness many a hunt from start to end, most being near misses and on the odd occasion watching the hunt turn into a success while writhing in my seat as I see the flabbergasted expression on my guest’s face as the impact happens.
When you are there, in the hunt amongst the predator and the prey, being just an outsider witnessing an ancient natural process, you realise that no amount of discovery channel or national geographic could bring you the feelings of rawness that you are feeling right now. Its happening right here and right now, one animal dies to serve a greater purpose or one predator walks away hungry letting its intended victim live another day.
The one example I will use is just last night. We came across a single lioness with two female cubs. All three lions in very good condition, their coats gleaming in the shine from my trackers spotlight. As we watched them playing and tumbling across the road there was a loud explosive bark from the darkness to the right, my tracker whispers ”Nongo” (kudu) everyone is bought to attention, both lions and guests are staring into the darkness listening for any sounds. The lioness crouches and slithers into the bush out of the light of the spotlight. The cubs remain on the road watching and learning from mom, being way too young at 9 months to be of any contribution to the hunt,
In the soft light of the moon we can make out the female lions figure moving ever so slowly through the low acacia veld towards something in the distance, we dare not shine the light on the lioness for that would give away her position to the animals she is pursuing. So we wait and listen. BARK! Another alarm call from a kudu, in a flash the light is back on the area we last saw the lion and my cruiser is switched on, kudus, impalas zebra all alarm calling, she has obviously chosen her victim and has revealed her position in a sprinting effort to pull down the animal. Where we shine there is nothing, back to the road, the cubs are gone! ” We’ve lost them” I mumble to my tracker, the next moment as I turn on the headlights of my game viewer a kudu comes running past at lightning speed with the lioness hot on its heels, there was a squeal of excitement from one of my guests, we followed the two animals as far as we could into the acacia thicket but to no avail, we don’t know if she was successful or not but what an experience!!!!!!!
Defiantly something to talk about around the dinner table!
Jordan Jacobson-Ranger Kapama Karula