Monday, May 18, 2015

On Safari With Karen 15 May 2015

15 May 2015

We started this cold wintery morning as the sun was just coming up. The game drive was a very good one as we first got our road blocked by a large herd of buffalos. As we then decided to turn around and drive around a different loop, we were delighted to see a small elephant herd and one of the mothers had a tiny little baby.

The newborn was still smaller than the length of the grass so it could easily hide away.

We also spotted 2 lionesses on top of the rock when someone told us about a rhino on the other side. We turned our vehicle once more in pursuit of the rhino and managed to spot him walking away. Finally deciding to finish a loop we came back around to where we left the lionesses. They had now moved to a better spot for us to see as we didn't have to look against the sun. But that wasn't all, we now saw even more lionesses: five in total to be exact. First we saw two again, then spotted a third one. Jokingly we said, who spots the 4th, and then it was a big laugh as there actually were four. "Guess what, there is another one that just popped up...".  We then sat around staring at all angles but if there were more, number 6 and higher was always out of view.

So far we hadn’t even had a coffee break yet! By the time we stopped at Pretoriuskop for a well needed loo break and some coffee we had added dwarf mongooses, giraffes and kudus to the list.

After our break we set off to find the elusive impala...

Birds on this trip: black-collared barbets, woolly necked storks, blacksmith lapwings, a fish eagle, bateleurs flying over, crested barbet, Cape glossy starlings, grey hornbills and fork-tailed drongos.

Other animals seen: hippo, impalas, warthog, zebras, a beautiful rhino bull crossing the road in front of us, elephants coming to visit the lodge, waterbucks, a common grey duiker running away and a lonesome buffalo bull.

Because our morning drive had been so great, in the afternoon we left camp with high expectations. And we were not disappointed. We revisited the lions we had seen this morning and whadaya know, now there were 7! One of them was limping quite badly which would explain why she caught up with the others later after we had left the sighting. Right now they had moved about 50 meters during the day, give or take a few. Quite easily explained by the movement of the sun: the lionesses would have moved towards a nice shady spot constantly.

However, just the fact we now had seen 7 lionesses did make it so great. Ok, it was awesome to see them lying down, interact with each other, yawning and getting up and walk to a different spot. Each and every time giving us great photo opportunities.

While they were moving around the Shabeni Koppie however, two snoozing buffalos came into view. And not just for us, the lionesses had spotted them as well and instantly went into hunting mode. We had picked our spot so that we could see the buffalos and from there the lionesses crept into view. Like a well-oiled machine they fanned out and semi-circled the buffalos. As the wind was in their favor, the buffalos were still peacefully chewing their cud. We waited with baited breath...

But then, a shift of wind and directly the buffalos knew what was wrong! They got up quickly and turned to one of the lionesses. We had a stand-off!! It felt like minutes ticked by and the buffalos still had not a clue there were lionesses on the other side of them too.

And it was on!! The lioness in view of the buffalos chased them straight into the paws of the others lying in wait. But the buffalos didn't give as they turned around and made a swipe for one of the pride. It was a proper chase, but the buffalos refused to split up and defended each other. Six lionesses against two buffalos...

They chased the buffalos down the hill. Giving up the hunt they regrouped on top of the rock where they started chilling out. It had been so close!! Multiple times we thought the lionesses were in reach of grabbing the buffalo, but then its buddy would make a swipe with the horns or a good kick. It was an adrenaline rush and an awesome show of teamwork from both sides. The buffalos got away this time, but who knows what happens tonight!!

Other animals seen on a short afternoon drive: a zebra roadblock, an elephant roadblock, waterbucks, kudus, impalas and guineafowls.

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