Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

one cat’s loss is another cat’s gain

by Richard de Gouveia on April 17, 2012

The day had warmed up considerably after a cold and everyone was in high spirits to see what would be in store for them on the afternoon safari. We left Little Bush Camp and the first stop was to show them the immense skull of a rhino that had been killed by an elephant. As I stood outside the vehicle, explaining how the whole thing had gone down I moved around to fetch some of the other bones and show the guests just how strong a hyenas jaw is and how they had been chewing on the massive femur. I then jumped into the vehicle and my heart stopped as we drove forward a mere 30 metres only to find two buffalo concealed in the long grass next to the road. My mind went spinning at the thought of what these massive, aggressive creatures might have done had they seen me wandering around out of the vehicle.

buffalo at sabi sabi

Once we had left the buffalo we found a small bachelor group of elephants feeding near a pan. As we sat and watched three of the four bulls decided it was time to test their strength against one another. It was amazing to watch these massive animals pushing each other around. We watched them for about 20 minutes before moving along. Just before we pulled out of the sighting we heard some kudu alarm calling and it was a great opportunity to show the guests how we track and find a cat. Often our first signs of their presence are the calls from other animals alerting everything that they are in the area.

We found the female leopard’s tracks and followed on foot only to find that she had an old kill in a completely inaccessible area where we would not be able to take the guests to see her. Accepting defeat on this occasion we set up the bush bar and watched the sun retreat below the horizon as the last remaining light lit up the clouds in amazing hues of orange, red and pink.

Sunset at Sabi Sabi Luxury safari lodges

By the time we had finished our drinks the Southern Pride had become mobile and we had jumped into a standby position waiting for an opportunity to watch this super pride moving through the darkness. They were very busy hunting impala so we waited patiently as the guys in the sighting went lights down and waited for all hell to break loose. At the same time another vehicle had found a female leopard and were following her right towards the lions. This was a recipe for disaster, as the lions would kill her if they got the chance and her 2 cubs would then suffer the same fate as their mother.

lion cub with mother at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

The leopard was now hunting some impala and managed to pull down a large female but the lioness that was moving around the back of their intended hunting targets found the leopard and her fresh kill and promptly chased her off and took the kill for herself. By this stage we had joined the rest of the pride who had unsuccessfully finished their hunt. They all came together and affectionately rubbed heads almost as if to encourage the others that they had done their best. As we sat and watched we heard some low calls as the females attempted to contact the missing female. Little did they know that she was gorging herself on her stolen meal.

lion cub

Eventually the female had somewhat filled her belly and decided to call in the rest and generously share the remaining meat. All it took was one call from her and the whole pride leapt to their feet and bolted to her. When they found her, her face was bloody and the other lions smelt her furiously before she led them to the remaining impala. When they all got in there the table manners went out the window and all the lions started to scrap for as much meat as they could get. Within minutes the entire impala had vanished into the bellies of all the lions and we left to go and enjoy our own dinner. Another tough day in Africa!

by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

doris charles April 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

Thank you Richard for you updates. Please We’re the leopard and cub safe with hunting of the lions.p

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ranger rich April 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

It is a pleasure Doris. The cubs were still in the den and they are fine as far as we know!

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zach hershman April 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

I’ve read your blog for quite a while now, but don’t think I’ve taken the time to post before. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your detailed updates and all the photos and videos you share with us. Reading and seeing this great photography always brightens up my day. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I loved the feeding frenzy that happened in the video. They all wanted to make sure they could get as much food as they could get.

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ranger rich April 17, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thanks so much for the compliment! I am glad you enjoyed all the pics and videos! Have a great day!

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syl April 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

Your blog is always the first thing I read in the morning. Yet another great read of your bush adventures. Very scarey to find the buffs so close to you walking around.
Loved it all.

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ranger rich April 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I am so glad you enjoyed it Syl! The buffs were awesome and a little bit of adrenalin never hurt anyone but those buff would! Have a great day!

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louise leger April 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

Hi Richard,
Kudos on another great blog and videos! In the first video of the bulls sparring, at :48 sec we catch a glimpse of the fourth bull in the background. He looked huge with very long tusks. In your opinion was he a much older bull than the other three and could they have been his askari? Thanks again for the great read!

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ranger rich April 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Thank you Louis…if i remember correctly the one with the large tusks was the askari of the large bull throwing his weight around.

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louise leger April 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thanks Richard. I can imagine your guests were thrilled at such a close encounter with these magnificent beings. To have them sparring at such close proximity must have been heart-stopping. I loved the stare down beginning at :20 sec…..thanks again for the reply and the video…loved every second of it!

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mj April 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

What an amazing life you lead.. The photos and videos are wonderful.
Thank you so very much for shaaring your adventures in the bush with us.

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ranger rich April 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Thank you MJ! It is always a pleasure sharing! Love this too much not to share!

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terry April 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Thank you Richard for once again writing a fanatastic diary with incredible video and pics! The lions were so intenet on their meal, not a one even glanced at the vehicle. Amazing. Always a feast for the mind and eye, thanks again!

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ranger rich April 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

Thank you Terry! Glad you enjoyed! The lions were so hungry that they didnt notice much other than the meat!

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patty April 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Again–thank you so much. Such a wonderful way each time you send them to sit back and return to the bush. Take care and greet Bret for us–you two are a wonderful team!
Patty
Minnesota
USA

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