Duba Plains … Tracking the lions – and more

By November 27, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Yesterday, the ODP Safari group left one of the prides of lions very hungry and only about 500m from a herd of buffalo.

Knowing that today would be a day of action, everyone was keen to leave the lodge extra early to follow and capture the promised action. Wim van den Heever, Hilton Kotze, Brendan Cremer and the safari guests were up and ready to go by 04:30.

When they arrived at the site where they had last seen these lions, they had disappeared – and so had the buffalo.

However, they managed to find the cat tracks, which they then followed. The lions had followed the buffalo onto Nyoka island. The dozing lions and sleeping buffalo were found quite quickly. All was peaceful, tranquil and serene … For a while.

Then the buffalo began to wake up and this heralded the end of the peaceful dawn.

Cameras clicked as stand-off after stand-off occurred. The tension grew and no-one seemed to notice that this ongoing dramatic interplay had continued for about 6 to 8 hours. By noon, the lions had singled out and isolated three of the herd.

Now a major stand-off occurred and the tension increased. The buffalo would stare, then after the stand-off, would start to move away. The lions would immediately give chase. They came so close! Three metres! That was all! The tension mounted, but after repeating the drama a few times, the lions, tired from the exertion, lay down to rest.

The ODP Safari group were also hungry by now, and because they had stayed out for so long, the lodge provided a scrumptious lunch for them under a beautiful sausage tree and with wonderful panoramic views. How idyllic!

After lunch, they decided to check on the first pride of lions who had eaten the elephant. They were still resting.

And ..

Not far away, they encountered a lioness with three cubs aged about 3-4 months. They were most active and delighted everyone with their antics, stalking each other, playing, mugging one another and thoroughly enjoying the afternoon. And of course they provided opportunity for the most charming and delightful photographs.

In one of the rivers, hippos also obliged the group by blowing and snorting and then yawning widely, and generally putting on a display which begged to be photographed.

A major highlight of the day was when the ODP Safari group met up with Dereck and Beverley Joubert and spent time with them over drinks. Dereck and Beverley are famous for their multiple awards and work with National Geographic, filming and photographing the big cats. They are also very committed to conserving our natural heritage.

The ODP Safari group finally returned to the lions and buffalo on the island. They are still in close proximity, only about 500 to 600 meters apart. The stage is set!

The lions are really hungry by now and the group is planning to leave early again tomorrow morning for the inevitable action …