Brendon’s News from Elephant Plains: Final Game Drive a Cat Bonanza …
(all images from back of Brendon’s Camera)
Our final game drive for this safari started out rather wet and a bit gloomy – the weather, that is, not the amazing sightings.
We wanted to follow up quickly on Tingana and Kwatile but when we reached their territory we found evidence that they have separated – as to be expected after their five day mating session. Tracks led in different directions and disappeared.
Hearing that a couple of mating lions were seen in the east, we shot out that way, and because there were other vehicles at the sighting (only two allowed at any time), we took a drive around …
… And found the remainder of the Birmingham males. The male lion of the mating couple is a member of the Birmingham male coalition, and who knows where the fifth member is? Maybe in a thicket somewhere?
It was great to spend time with them in the wet conditions. They were keen to remain out of the wet long grass, which was fabulous for photography.
Because all the male cats in the area are patrolling and marking their territories after the rain, those that we saw were very active.
In fact we were just finished with the lions, when, while driving away, we found Mvula, a very large, dominant male leopard in the eastern area. He was also on patrol, re-marking his territory, listening, sniffing, marking, and alert to any slight sound.
We returned to the mating lions and found that they had moved into a thicket where we could still see them mating, but they were not in a good spot for decent photography – maybe a few record shots, but that was all.
On the way back to the Lodge we bumped into Shadow’s (another leopard mother) young one year old male cub. It was a lovely and very appropriate final sighting for this safari.
So one again we ended our safari on a very impressive high. We look forward to exciting times ahead at Elephant Plains as we follow the progress of the animals such as Salayexe and her cub, and the exploits of the handsome Birmingham Male lions …
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