Ndutu Serengeti Wildebeest Calving: Serengeti Cats …

Ben Reports from Serengeti:

 

We left camp shortly before sunrise with a truly iridescent sky. It was breathtakingly beautiful and we stopped frequently to enjoy the unfolding landscapes – and to start filling our memory cards.

We soon bumped into two lionesses strolling down the road, having some interaction with – actually an altercation with – a herd of elephants. The lions were intent on hunting and had focussed on a young elephant calf. They ran up the road towards our vehicles, while their body-language said it all. They had very attentive postures as they watched the little elephant with expressions of total absorption – wonderful for photography!

We eventually left them and headed for a beautiful area. Imagine fields with a thick carpet of gently waving yelllow grass, dotted intermittently with koppies. These koppies are granite outcrops and are covered with lovely Fig Trees. The scenery is truly magnificent.

We headed for the Gol Koppies where we found a male and female cheetah together. We presumed that they were probably honeymooning, but there was no mating interaction at all while we were there. We photographed the two in the yellow grass carpet and with the koppies forming a background. We captured regular as well as panoramic shots.

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After the cheetahs we enjoyed breakfast that was served for us at Gol Koppies. Why is it that food enjoyed out in the open in a setting like that just tastes so much more delicious? …

We moved on, again photographing the stupendous landscape as we progessed until we encountered four lionesses with a handsome male lying out in the open. After photographing them we carried on again –

We hadn’t gone too far before we noticed three cheetahs ahead. As we caught up with them they flushed a Scrub Hare from the undergrowth … right next to our lead vehicle. They caught the hare right there and within seconds they had completely disposed of it! Not much to share between three of them!

Lunch followed – also served out in the open, ensuring that we could add yet another special experience to our collection of fabulous memories.

We turned in the general direction of the camp – quite a few hours distant from our lunch spot, and followed along a marshy area. The bird life! Wow! A list would be so boring, but I will highlight the Marsh Harriers and Montagu’s Harriers. A first for many occurred when a couple of Crowned Cranes strolled through the grassland with their little chick. There were so many others, including Double-banded Coursers … and many more.

We moved on and were delighted to find a leopard in a tree. It gave us plenty of time for photography before it descended from the tree and disappeared.

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We travelled along a river with a beautiful setting sun and vivid sky all along. The sun was meters from the horison when we found a lioness in an Acacia Tortilis Tree (Umbrella Tree), which has a sloping trunk making ascent and descent quite straightforward. The lioness was staring intently at the surroundings. As the light started to diminish we used our flashes.

Then luckily for us a second lioness came strolling down the road, and leaped into the tree to join her pride-mate.

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We repositioned ourselves a few times to make the best of that beautiful sunset.

Camp was close by and now we are here, enjoying our sundowners as we wind down after another incredible day …

Tomorrow? Let’s see …