a crazy two days
My guests for two nights were a family from Columbia. It was their first time on safari and you could see the excitement in their eyes. The 2 young girls aged 7 and 11 were especially excited and asked if I could show them some lions. Fortunately a lion and lioness had caught a buffalo calf very close our lodge, Little Bush Camp, the night before, and we headed straight out there to start their safari on a high.
Now if you have ever seen lions on an old kill generally all you see are the remains of the prey and fat sleeping lions. However, when we got there we were greeted by intense growling. Once we had positioned ourselves we could see that there was indeed very little flesh left on the carcass and the two cats were in a standoff, trying to get what was left of the meat. Suddenly, as the lioness decided to pull on the carcass, the lion turned on her and they began a huge fight. The noise was incredible and everyone in the sighting sat in awe of the spectacle that they were witnessing. Just seconds later both lions resumed their positions over the carcass and continued growling at one another. We enjoyed the sighting for another 30 minutes before we left to go see what else was out there. We at no stage managed to drive more than a few kilometers from the camp, because in a short distance we managed to find elephant, rhino, zebra and a whole host of other general game, which kept us really busy!
The next afternoon out on drive our mission was to find a leopard. As we left the camp I heard on the radio that some of the other rangers had picked up tracks of a female leopard and were following up. When they found her she was nonchalantly strolling down the road. We had full lodges and several Land Rovers were moving in towards the leopard's location, so I decided that we would go try and find another one. As we headed in a new direction we drove onto an open area, and lying just off the road was a magnificent male cheetah. He lay there looking so regal, facing into the approaching sunset. He posed for the cameras for about 20 minutes before getting up and moving along. We stayed with him for a little while and then made some space for another vehicle to see this rare and highly endangered animal.
We stopped at a great sundowner spot with the adults enjoying gin and tonics, the kids sipping on cokes - all of us discussing how lucky we were to have seen this beautiful creature. After drinks we headed back to where the leopard had been seen. She was hunting a bush buck and our head ranger had been sitting with her for half an hour waiting for something to happen. He eventually left to return to his lodge for dinner. At that point the bush buck bolted through the gardens of Selati Camp and we caught a glimpse of the leopard circling round to get a better position. We decided to do the same thing and found the leopard crouched on the road and the bushbuck walking straight towards her. We turned all our lights off so as not to influence the hunt but could fortunately see everything in the moonlight as it was approaching full moon. Everyone sat holding their breath waiting for the action to start…then suddenly the leopard was off and in three strides had caught the bush buck. It was over so quickly and quietly. Once the bush buck was dead the leopard pulled her out into the open as if to show off her prize.
What an incredible two days: the Big 5, plus cheetah and a leopard kill. What can I say but… "Another tough day in Africa."