A beautiful sunrise greeted us again this morning with the different waking animals dotted around the Plains.
A pod of around 45 hippos had crowded into a very small pond – it was not large enough to be named anything other than a pond – and we sat an watched them for almost an hour as they jostled one another for space, moved around a little irritably, yawned, shoved each other, and generally kept themselves and their companions on the go all the time.
We were diverted now and then as different birds flew over, capturing images against the beautiful sky.
While watching the birds and the hippos we heard lions calling from an area we have not encountered lions before. We headed in that direction and met up with two lionesses, members of Silver – Eye”s pride. They were walking along very purposefully and realising that they were hunting, we followed.
Soon after they had crossed a water channel they spotted a warthog and their strategy was immediately put into action. One lion went to the left, the other to the right, and simultaneously they crept close to the warthog – a classic pincer movement! They sprang together at the last second, but the vegetation helped the warthog to flee to safety in some very dense bushes.
The lionesses marched on. When they came to an open area we could see a herd of Tsessebe on one side with an adjacent herd of Lechwe, separated from each casino online other by a few meters.
Now the lionesses totally baffled us. They walked right in between the two herds, ignoring both. But they were not ignored!
The Lechwe bunched together tightly, so that they almost resembled some huge animal if one glanced quickly in their direction. They watched the passing lionesses carefully, ready to dash away at any sign of interest from the cats.
Once past, the lionesses sauntered over to a comfortable spot and settled down for a noontime siesta,
… giving us time to enjoy a hurried lunch served under a tree.
When we returned to the lionesses they were just getting up and were on the move again.
By chance, a lone buffalo bull wandered into the area …
… and within seconds the lionesses were on the attack. One lioness chased the bull in one direction and then, when he spied the second lioness, he veered and tried a different pathway. Within moments one of the lionesses had caught up with him and leaped onto his back, clinging on with all her might. He bellowed, and tried to shake her off, but she clung on with determination. But before the second lioness could catch up with them, the bull gave an almighty heave and managed to dislodge the lioness. As soon as she was off his back he dashed away and disappeared into a tree line.
The lionesses now walked on, this time coming to a knee-high water course. Without stopping they continued, and although some Tsessebe appeared, they disappeared as quickly.
We realised by now that the lionesses were intent on a specific direction. Little had caused them to divert, so we followed, and were rewarded when they led us straight to their den. There, the lioness that had caught the lechwe on her own was suckling her cubs. We were so close that we could hear the cubs, and although we waited, hoping to see them, only the mother appeared when the cubs had finished feeding. The cubs were tucked away somewhere out of sight.
On the way to camp we stopped to photograph the sunset and were fortunate to choose a spot where a startled Nightjar popped out of its hiding place and settled on the road right in front of us – close enough for full frame photographs.
The days in the bush are so exciting, so fulfilling and rewarding, and the evenings in this beautiful so magnificent that we truly treasure each moment that we are here …