Villiers Reports from Elephant Plains: A New Pride of Lions …
Before we left the Lodge this morning, we could hear a leopard close by. We headed straight to Salayexe’s kill which we found still only partly consumed up in the tree. As we searched the area we found large male leopard tracks belonging to Anderson, and the tracks were headed directly towards Salayexe’s kill! So, either Salayexe had taken her cub for an early drink somewhere, or maybe she sensed Anderson’s approach and they were scared into hiding.
Anderson’s tracks led us all the way to the north of the reserve, where they turned east. We caught up with him for a brief moment, but only managed a few images – mostly of his rear end –
– before he disappeared into dense bush.
The elephant herd with their playful youngsters were where we left them yesterday, looking fabulous in the morning light.
A small troop of baboons sunned themselves on and around a large termite mound while large, while very handsome Kudu Bulls watched them.
A small herd of Dagga boys (buffalo) we very reluctant to move from the road where they relaxed contentedly while their attendant Oxpeckers leaped around them in search of parasites.
So now we only need to encounter a rhino to complete our Big Five tally …
This afternoon we were delighted to find Salayexe and cub safe and sound although at first they were not in the best spot for photography. The cub played with mom’s tail for a while but with a short attention span, other objects proved to be of far more interest, especially an enticing ball of elephant dung. This was patted this way and that, chased about, and sniffed thoroughly, before being given a tentative bite! Ugghh! That was too much! The comical snarl of disgust on the cub’s face in response to the taste had us all giggling.
When the little one went to snuggle with mom we left and started to head northwards. We passed so much game … I will mention the beautiful Nyala herd that crossed the road ahead of us, and for the first time on this safari we found a large herd of waterbuck. And of course there were plenty of zebra, Impala and giraffe along the way.
We actually found Anderson again – and he repeated his morning performance … spending just a few minutes with us before retiring to rest behind some inaccessible bushes.
A call alerted us to the possible presence of lions in the far north. We found a pride that has not been seen for some time … the seven remaining members of the Nkuhuma Pride. Three lionesses were accompanied by two subadults (one male) and two small Cubs.
We found the pride after dark. They were rather skittish – which is not surprising as a lioness that belonged to the pride was killed by other lions a while back. They were very alert and glanced around watchfully, reacting nervously to almost every sound.
However, we did manage to capture some good shots using different lighting conditions – flash, backlighting, rim lighting and so on. It was a little difficult at times as we did not want to stress or alarm the pride in any way.
As always the time to return to the Lodge seemed to arrive very quickly … how the hours flash by when one is here!
Tomorrow we will probably start at the lions again …
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