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A Morning Full of Surprises

on Nov 15, 2022

“Baby elephants!” Was the enthusiastic response I got yesterday morning when I asked my two lady guests what they would like to see. With to-go cups filled with coffee and a dash of Amarula (maybe more than a dash) we headed out.

B01andries Giraffes 14112 Final

We had stopped to view giraffes in the distance when Themba, our tracker, casually turned around and said “Lion, male lion”. We caught a glimpse of him as moved towards an unsuspecting herd of impala. Right behind him was a second one just as big and handsome as the first one. We watched as they rubbed faces, something lions typically do to reinforce bonds.

Suddenly they got up and started moving at a fast pace towards where we had viewed a pride of lions the previous night. Curling back their upper lip and exposing their sharp teeth, they did a flehmen grimace around the area where the females had been.

B06andries Lions.nwas 141122 5 Final

Like bloodhounds on a trail, they took off again but this time at a much faster pace than before. We struggled to keep up with them through the Tamboti thicket and as we made our way around to the open area ahead, we saw several hyenas. Amongst the hyenas was a lioness on a wildebeest kill. We figured she had been trying to chase away the clan of hyenas and as the two males arrived, the balance quickly shifted in her favour. The hyenas scattered at the roars and growls of the male lions.

After chasing off the hyenas, one of the two males turned his attention to the female. She then ran away from the kill, well that’s what we thought but turned out she was leading him away from the rest of her pride of sub-adults. The other male finished off what was left of the wildebeest carcass. Having seen these lions before, one would think they have used up their nine lives already but they seemed to survive to live another day. As we drove off, we spotted the cubs panting heavily, hiding in dense bushes.

Still shaking from an adrenaline-filled morning, we carried on to look for “baby elephants”, which we did find and were entertained by several calves in the herd.

As we made our way back to Bush Lodge, and as I was about to announce our arrival to the lodge, again in his ever-so-casual manner, Themba stopped me once again and pointed out a female leopard right by the side of the road! Talk about being on top form!

As we arrived at the lodge one of my guests asked, “How do we top this morning?” Both Themba and I replied with coy smiles on our face, “We don’t!”

  • Blog by Andries Ndlovu (Bush Lodge Ranger)
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