I always find this the hardest blog to write. When you have done on average 84 drives, roughly translated to nearly 250 hours in the bush and seeing some amazing sightings, how do you even try to isolate the best ones? This cycle has been one of my favourites so far and has given me so many special memories. Like most people who visit Africa, my love is the big cats and I am sure it is no surprise where all my highlights came from.
One of my highlights has been witnessing the coming of age of the Eyrefield male. Solo is still certainly the dominant of the two, but there is a new found confidence emerging from the younger Eyrefield, which bodes well for the future of this coalition. This became evident when Solo and Eyrefied found a dead baby buffalo. It was great to follow them as their eyes were focused skywards towards spiralling vultures and then they broke into a gallop towards the carcass, it was Eyrefield that lay claim to the kill – acting as if it was something that he fought long and hard for. Every time Solo would try to get at the kill, Eyrefield would bear his teeth followed by a deep growl – a real treat for our guests. This maturity and confidence has maybe been what this coalition has been waiting for before mounting an attack on the dominant Kruger male.
Sticking with lions, the two male cubs have been entertaining the guests with their exuberance of youth and mischief. One of the afternoons, I was able to spend about one and a half hours with these two, mum, Kruger male and another female. The cubs were playing with dad, annoying mum and finding anything to play with and these types of moments always get the same reaction from every guest – ahhhhhhhhh!!!
For more images of the cubs and one of my earlier blogs, have a look at “The new generation”
Last but certainly not least, has been the viewings we have had of the cheetah mother and her two sub adult cubs. With all the perils that face cheetahs, she has done an outstanding job in raising these youngsters especially since most hunts are unsuccessful. Witnessing not only full hunts, but the mother teaching the youngsters how to do it was a moment in my life I shall never forget (“A cruel but necessary death”)
It was amazing to see how they fed, with one cheetah acting as a sentinel, continually scanning for opportunists ready to take advantage of their hard won kill.
With sightings like these and many more like this, it is pretty clear to see why I feel that I have the best office in the world.