A few days back, my guests and I set out on our morning safari. We had seen some incredibly lucky sightings the day before, being treated to a leopard feeding on an impala, as well as an awesome sighting of the elephants, with the youngsters all playing near our vehicle in the road. We set out this morning, trying to track down the remaining members of the Big 5, focusing on following the tracks of the lion pride. We eventually found our way onto some very fresh tracks of the lions, and together with a couple other vehicles started trying to pinpoint them down. After about 15 minutes, one of the other vehicles helping us managed to locate them in a nice open area not too far away. When we got there, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were! Instead of seeing the lions, all we could see as we were making our way closer was a female rhino and her young calf standing quite alert. When we got a bit closer, we could see all 12 lions sitting in a circle surrounding the rhinos! It was amazing to watch the interaction between these two species. The young cubs, thinking they were a lot bigger than they are, kept trying to push closer to the rhinos. Eventually after a lot of snarling, the mother rhino had had enough and gave chase to the lions. It was an amazing sighting to see, watching these usually fearless lions tuck tail and bolt in every direction!
Story by Kevin (River Lodge)
The Slender Mongoose is a small, light brown to dark red brown predator that, as the name suggests, is quite long and thin. They mostly live alone or in pairs and hunt during the day, making them diurnal. Their diet consists of rodents, reptiles and birds. They will also eat insects and other invertebrates. As small as they are, it has been reported that slender mongoose can kill a black mamba, which is considered as Southern Africa’s most dangerous snake.
A male would have a home range that would be large enough to overlap the home ranges of several females that he would then approach if he can smell that she is in heat. The male does not take care of the young. When the youngsters are old enough, they would all go their separate ways and find their own home ranges. They are found almost all over the sub-Sahara Africa, but mostly prefer the savannah and open woodland areas. They become less prominent in dense bushed areas. They make dens in old termite mounds and would sometimes share it with other mongoose species like the white tailed mongoose as the latter is nocturnal.
Story by Jacques (River Lodge)
We set off this morning with rhinos and hippos in mind – two of the three biggest animals on the reserve. We were not long into our drive when we come across some fresh dung and spoor of some rhinos.
We decide to start following the spoor to see where it would take us and as we are driving around, we see that we are getting closer as the spoor seemed to be getting fresher and fresher. After driving around for a while, we were disappointed to see the spoor disappear into a thick block of bush. We decided that the best option then was to go around and see they had come out on the other side. To our surprise, we drove into a herd of buffalo, who were accompanied by the rhinos! This was awesome! It is very rare to see 2 of the big 5 animals together. After a while, we decided to leave them to go and try our luck, finding some hippos down at a watering hole. As we get closer to a watering hole, we see that unfortunately, the hippos are not there. As we were moving away from the water, we had some more luck – we happened to bump a hippo outside of the water! This was an incredible sighting as you hardly ever see hippos out of the water! This has to be one of my most memorable drives that I have ever done!
Story by J.T (River Lodge)
One morning, we left the lodge for the last morning drive for the guests. They hadn’t seen any cats at all, and I heard that there were lions that were seen around a dam the night before. I decided that we would try and find them again, so we followed the tracks until we found them. It was three females with a young male cub. We stayed there for a while, waiting for the next ranger to come and view them. Once we had left, we drove down the road, when all of a sudden; a cheetah crossed the road in front of us! Wow! From seeing not a single cat to seeing 2 in an hour! We had to stop for a drink to calm our nerves. After the nice, warm cup of coffee, we were all warm and our nerves were gone. I then heard over the radio that they had just found a leopard not too far away from where we were, so I decided to take a stand by for it. We slowly made our way to the leopard, and after viewing it for a while, we decided it was breakfast time, and made our way back to the lodge for breakfast.
Story by Bryan (River Lodge)