Villiers’ Bulletin from Elephant Plains: Anderson Male with a Kill – and a Hyena
As expected, we had hardly left the Lodge when we found the Breakaway Lion Pride – exactly where we left them last night. We hung around for a few moments, hoping that after such a long sleep they would be thirsty and keen for some water, or a stretch. But no, from a short distance away they resembled a large lion-carpet as they lay there together, breathing as one, and hardly twitching an eyelid.
Anderson Male was far more active when we reached him. He was up in his tree, munching away at the remains of his kill. Every few minutes, having removed a chunk of the carcass and consumed it, he moved the kill to another branch or another fork in the tree. This kept him (and us) busy for ages.
At the same time the hopeful hyena still lurked around the base of the tree, waiting for any scraps that would rain down on him. And bits did fall from the tree – when Anderson Male ate and whenever he moved the diminishing carcass to another spot.
We all managed a great series of images – when the leopard took the kill in his mouth and looked down at the expectant hyena below with the hyena reaching up and staring directly up at Anderson Male with the forelegs of the impala clenched firmly in his jaws.
One could almost hear the hyena wishing drop it, drop it! But the wily leopard was far too careful and stashed the forequarter carefully before he suddenly jumped down from the tree – and landed an arms length from our vehicle. Whereupon he looked around, and retired for the day under a nearby bush.
When we returned to the lions they were still asleep … and again we hung around, but they showed very little sign of movement, other than occasionally getting up sleepily to move to another comfortable position.
This was the final game drive for the first safari group here at Elephant Plains, and back at the Lodge, the totals are being calculated! Leopard on every drive! 6 different leopards at different times, some on many occasions. 20 lions in separate prides – and of course all the Big 5, plus plenty of general game and birds.
Consensus? A 10/10 safari! We’ll be back! For sure!
The new safari group were all here in time for a meal and a briefing before it was time to start our first game drive. Could it possibly be as incredible and eventful as the safari that ended this morning?
We left this afternoon and found that after hanging around sleeping for such a long time the Breakaway Lion Pride was gone … and their tracks led right past the deck at the Lodge. How did no one see them?
We followed the lion tracks towards the river, but interrupted our going to photograph two large buffalo bulls and then a small herd of elephants with two excellent entertainers. A very young playful calf ran back and forth, all over, trying to control its trunk as it scampered around the adults, nudging here, pushing there, and investigating us with the curiosity of all little creatures.
And a very amusing young bull practiced his charging skills on us. Again and again he lunged at us for a few steps, then stopped in a cloud of dust, looked at us to check whether we were suitably intimidated and impressed. When he then stuck his forelegs out with his hind quarters in the air (just like a playful dog!), we could not contain ourselves and literally rolled around, shrieking with laughter. It was just fabulous – and we are stilling smiling about the encounter.
Just after sunset heard that Anderson Male was on the move, and when we reached him it was to find him in thick bush, lying there and watching everything with a cat’s alert gaze.
Luck was on our side on the way back to the Lodge … not only did we see a Spotted Genet, as we neared the Lodge we encountered a Civet – a super end to a great game drive.
Tomorrow we plan to be out before dawn to search for large cat tracks …