Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

perfect predators

by Richard de Gouveia on October 17, 2011

I am sitting watching another African sunset, listening to the cicadas and birds, enjoying a quiet evening without guests and reminiscing on the last 2 weeks. The bush has transformed from a drab brown to a glowing green. The areas burnt in the controlled burns have already started to cover over with a fresh layer of green grass, which have attracted herds of zebra and impala. The animals start to change to their summer routine, feeding in the cool of morning and evening and sleeping through the heat of the day.

zebra reflection

The last few days have been filled with many great sightings ranging from the immense herds of elephants that have been moving through the reserve, scores of raptors and of course the big predators.

buffalo at sabi sabi

The lions have been busy, as they have been pursuing the large herd of buffalo that have been moving through the reserve. After pulling 2 buffalo down in the reserve to our south we knew it would be a few days before we would see them again. Fortunately the two Kruger males, who have been pursuing the females and have already killed one of the cubs, chased them off their hard earned meal and they came running straight back into the reserve. As we followed them we saw them looking over their shoulders to make sure they were not being followed. There were only 5 females and the 9 cubs and my only assumption could be that the other 3 females were attempting to distract the males. They moved along briskly through the newly burnt areas and seemed to be heading straight toward the buffalo herd. Later that morning the buffalo ended up chasing them off as they were moving in for another hunt.

lioness on safari game drive at sabi sabi

lion cub on safari at sabi sabi

lions on safari game drive

Last night we found them sleeping, waiting for the sun to go down and the heat of the day to go with it. We watched as they roused, the cubs started to play and they groomed each other before moving off through the moonlit night in search of more food. Their target would surely be the buffalo that we had spent time with earlier no more than a kilometer from their position. As they started moving through the brush they stopped periodically to sharpen their claws on the trees as they past also leaving behind scent from the glands between their toes. At around 8pm they started chasing the buffalo around but with no success.

lion cub

lioness sharpenning her claws

The wild dogs also spent a lot of time in the southern section of the reserve and we found them the other afternoon sleeping in the shade of a large weeping boer bean that had anchored itself to a termite mound. Again we waited, just as we did with the lions, for them to start moving once the heat of the day had subsided. The pups played waiting for the adults to wake and when they finally did we followed them as they missioned through the bush looking for something to eat. It was a great experience to watch the close social bonding between these incredible dogs.

wild dogs at sabi sabi

wild dogs on safari game drive at sabi sabi

We have also enjoyed some great leopard sightings as we found a young male leopard drinking from the pan in front of Selati Camp. We followed him as he crossed the Msutlu River and eventually left him on his mission.

leopard on night safari at sabi sabi

dominant male leopard at sabi sabi

Our dominant male leopard also came for a visit and on this mornings game drive we found him sleeping in a mitre drain and followed him as he moved along marking his territory. He rubbed his face in the branches, scraped his feet and sprayed a jet of urine over the bushes as he passed. We left him after an hour and went to enjoy some coffee. What a great morning…..

by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)

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