29 April 2015
We set off early once again for a day full of safaris and we had an amazing day. As it was Bryan's 50th birthday, we were hoping to get some good sightings, but boy, was he spoiled on his birthday! And that doesn't even include the chocolate cake with ice cream and singing birthday songs, because that only came after dinner ;-).
This morning we did see some hyenas again. It was special as it looked like the hyenas started to come back to their den after a long night foraging. They appeared from all directions and some even passing the car close by. The pups came out of the den to greet the elders and to beg for some food. When a large group had formed they all greeted each other with their special hyena sounds.
After breakfast at Skukuza we had gotten a tip from some other guides about some lions. We decided to have go and see if we could get lucky. And we were rewarded with a great sighting!! Upon arrival we saw two lions and a lioness full from a meal snoozing it off in the shade. Three other younger males were still guarding the buffalo they had killed from lots of lappet-faced and white-backed vultures that were all waiting to get their share. We saw one lion trying to eat a little more. And we now know that lions are strong as he pulled the half eaten buffalo carcass away from the vultures all by himself.
But the action wasn't done yet as the female turned out to be in heat. One of the males sacrificed himself to make full use of the females estrus cycle even though he had just engorged on a buffalo buffet. We saw them mating once and a second time seemed on hand but he just couldn't get himself to do it. The girl gave up after that and went for a sleep in the shade with the male close by her side.
One of the other males that was snoozing before had apparently gotten some new room left in his still very bulgy tummy, as he got up and started to make his way back to the carcass. Full on fresh meat, he wasn't thinking properly and his now extra heavy body sank in the muddy banks of the dam he was crossing. He managed to pull himself together and out of the mud and got across. Only to change his mind and go lie down in another shady spot.
Other interesting sightings: a herd of buffalos, many elephants including some very close to the car, kudus, waterbucks, a chameleon, another lion sighting, white rhinos, steenboks, warthogs, common grey duikers, vervet monkeys, Speke's hinged tortoise, hippos, one and a half giraffe (as of the second one we only could see the bottom half), a lovely view from Mathekanyan, a crocodile, marabou stork, a brown snake eagle, zebras, a leopard in a tree and of course plenty of impalas.