With plenty more rain falling on the reserve this week, a bloat of hippo enjoyed a lazy day in the water.
Sometimes it is your differences that can be absolutely captivating for others. This female buffalo, with her beautifully flecked face that set her apart from the rest of the uniformly dark chocolate herd, stood beside her calf keeping a very attentive and wary eye on our approach.
Not often seen at Sabi Sabi, this White-fronted Bee-eater gave us a lot of excitement as it was catching insects right beside the road.
On our way back to the lodge, we stopped as a large breeding herd of elephants crossed an open area, heading towards a waterhole as it was already getting hot!
After briefly mating, these two Wahlberg’s Eagles groomed each other for quite a while.
The sound of hurried footfalls caught our attention as this hyena made her way to the water. A quick drink was all she had time for, and she was off again, and disappeared, almost as quickly as she had appeared.
These warthogs had just come out of a little wallow and were obviously feeling rather energised and started competing in a sparring match. Their female companion was not interested in being involved, and she trotted off to find some peace. Boys will be boys.
This beautiful Spotted Eagle-owl had just caught a Longhorn Beetle and perched above our vehicle to devour his spoils. After pulling off a few unsavory bits, he swallowed it whole before taking off to find the next course.
With the thick layer of clouds that brought rain in the early hours of the morning starting to disperse, the blue skies were revealed.
In the afternoon heat, these two buffalo bulls, and a few more, were wallowing in a series of wallows that had been filled up by the recent rains.
This Pied Wagtail used the highest vantage point around to call from.
We stopped and viewed quite a large herd of impala as they went about their day. There were a lot of lambs around as well as a big male who was going around to almost every female impala and checking their receptiveness by testing their urine and showing us what is called the “flehmen grimace”.
One cool, rainy morning, a pack of Wild Dogs lay tightly together in order to keep warm. The call of a Spurfowl gave them all a fright and in doing so, they jumped to attention. They didn’t lie back down, but instead ran off into the distance in order to find any potential prey.
Almost everybody who works in the bush has that one location in mind where they would love to see a certain animal. For tracker Creamson, it was to be able to see a leopard resting in a very particular Marula tree. Every time he drives past that tree, he always has a very close look to see if his dream will become a reality. Friday morning was no different! However, instead of just seeing an empty tree, to all our surprise, the N’weti male leopard was resting across one of the branches. He had recently finished a kill that he had made and with no sign of him moving, we all gazed upon his magnificence!
A few days later, N’weti was seen again and eventually moved out of the long grass, onto a road and began marking his territory.
We spent the afternoon moving from open area to open area in search of cheetah. As we were making our way to the final area of our search, we were pleasantly surprised when we spotted the White Dam male. He was slowly on the move marking his territory. He seemed to have caught the scent of another leopard and was making it clear that this was his territory.
The following day, he was on a territorial patrol but got distracted by the presence of a herd of impala in the thickets. A complete change of body language told us he was in hunting mode, so we stopped the vehicle and waited. Unfortunately, as he made his approach, he was spotted, and the herd let of a chorus of alarm calls to let him know. The game was up, and so the territorial march continued.
Not long after a failed warthog hunt, these two males came across an unsuspecting buffalo herd and managed to kill a young buffalo. This morning we found all four N’waswishaka male lions resting in some shade with full bellies, only opening their eyes every now and then to check their surroundings.
The sun was quickly setting as one of the N’waswishaka male lions had a drink in an open area. Soon after, he made his way back to the other three lions where he lay down and continued to rest.
One evening, a magical scene unfolded… the Southern Pride female was found with her two cubs, feasting on a wildebeest kill. With this in mind, we left the lodge at the crack of dawn and started the drive towards the southern part of our reserve, with the rising sun creating an incredible backdrop. Our excitement at hopefully getting a sneak peek of this legend of a female with her two youngsters was palpable. We rounded the corner slowly, making our way towards where the kill had been. We stopped some distance away to see two little heads appearing out of the grass. The two little cubs – still full of the bounce of new life – began stalking our vehicle with open curiosity. The early morning light seemed to catch their fur as though they were threaded in gold. What a morning!
Until next time…