5 December 2015
This afternoon saw the arrival of 5 new guests, a group of friends from North America.
Not long after entering the park, we saw our first large herds Impala and Zebra. They were taking full advantage of the lush, short grass sprouting after some recent rains. With the Impala there are also many lambs running around these days, up to about 2 weeks old and they will most likely be joined by many more new arrivals over the next week or two.
We were also lucky enough to encounter a few large bull elephant, one of them feeding quite close to the road and our vehicle and also crossing the road just in front of us.
The highlights of the day came when we found 3 young male Cheetah, slowly on the move and looking as if they were on the hunt. They took turns climbing on fallen trees and termite mounds, having a look for any available targets. Again, we were lucky enough to have one of them cross the road in front of our vehicle twice. We left the sighting with the cheetah still in full view, relaxing on a termite mound.
On our way to camp we passed an active spotted hyena den where we saw a large female with 4 cubs. They were suckling at the den entrance and then moved onto the road, the curious cubs inspecting a few of the accumulated vehicles' tires until a sound or movement send them running back to mother! Having left the hyenas and heading back to camp, we found another solitary cheetah, stalking some nearby Impala! This was quite a dense area with not so much space for the cheetah to gain speed and it needed to get very close for the attempt. The cheetah eventually was about 35m from the Impalas before launching an attack, but even that was too far as the Impala spotted the threat and took off, scattering in all directions. The cheetah immediately abandoned the attempt and headed back where it came from to rethink strategy and we headed to camp.
An amazing and truly memorable first afternoon of safari!
6 December 2015
Setting off early this morning in an attempt to maximize our sightings, it paid off very quickly.
We stopped to watch a large herd of buffalo in tall grass close to the road. Suddenly, a leopard appeared on the opposite side of the road and, very optimistically, it was actually stalking the buffalo. It was a young male and tried to use our vehicle as cover while approaching the buffalo. Eventually it crossed the road in front of us. By now the buffalo had spotted it and a very large male was keeping a close eye on it.
Even though no serious threat was posed by the leopard, caution overcame curiosity on the part of the buffalo and the herd retreated, leaving the leopard to rethink his strategy! We watched it a little while longer, until it headed back in the direction it came from.
Not much further, we came across the remains of a buffalo carcass, slightly obscured by the surrounding shrubs, being fed on by 3 spotted hyena and a large number of vultures. Even though the visibility wasn't very good, it was quite an experience hearing the crushing of bones, squabbling of the vultures and the occasional giggle from a hyena. Every now and then a hyena managed to break off a piece and trot off to go eat in peace and quiet...
Next up was another buffalo carcass, this time a bit fresher and 2 young male Lions were lying in the shade close-by. There still seemed to be some good eating left on the buffalo and it looked like they were just taking a break from feeding although there were many vultures around, patiently waiting their turn.
After our breakfast stop it had warmed up considerably and it was a good time to find some Elephants having their mudbath, from a hole dug by themselves in dry riverbed. We also found 2 white rhino lying in a mud pool to cool off as well as the first journey of giraffe for the tour. They were feeding and we observed them leisurely moving from tree to tree and also cross the road in front of us.
After taking a break from the afternoon heat, we set off again late afternoon for a leisurely drive during which we had a very relaxed White Rhino grazing in a clearing, as well as a small breeding herd of elephants feeding in a riverbed. All in all a very successful day!