Phinda: Lions at 02:00

By September 24, 2013 Phinda No Comments

Wim’s News:

We have enjoyed a very looooong day today. It all started at 02:00 when the lions right next to the camp started to roar – and roar – and roar – and roar. Do you know how loud that is in the quiet of the night and when the lions are about 30 meters from you? Everyone in the camp, guests, staff, rangers, guides have been awake since the first roar rent the air, startling us into immediate wakefulness.

We left the camp about 20 minutes before sunrise and headed straight to the very vocal lions. Only they were no longer vocal. All that effort to keep us awake in the night exhausted them and they were settling down to sleep which they did for the remainder of the day.

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We were keen to check on the two male cheetahs in the Marsh area, hoping that today would be a hunting day.

On the way there a leopard crossed the road in front of us – just a few grab shots before he disappeared into the surrounding bush. A lovely sighting, and we were thrilled to see him.

When we reached the cheetahs they were moving from termite mound to termite mound, checking the area for potential prey. It was a truly beautiful sighting in the warm early light, and with the pink sunrise behind them. We made the most of our time with them and quickly filled memory cards.

On the way back to the camp we checked in the mother cheetah with her two subadult cubs. They were right our in the open – fabulous! But they were resting peacefully in the warmth of the day.

The lions next to the camp were slumbering, and looked up only rarely to check if any scavengers were approaching the scraps of their kill.

This afternoon a quick check on the lions found them as before so we moved on.

In quick succession we saw a herd of elephants, a white rhino and then a black rhino!

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That was fabulous … to see so much almost in sight of each other.

When we caught up with the mother cheetah, she and her cubs had caught a young Nyala, and they settled down to eat. We remained with them until sunset, when they moved away from their kill to lie down in an open area. With the sunset colours behind them we again captured some lovely images.

And I added to my personal bird list – as did the ardent birders on this safari – with the following:
Purple – banded Sunbird
Rudd’s Apalis
Black – bellied Starling

After this very long and very successful day we are back at camp, listening eagerly for sounds of the lions, and enjoying the stunning sparkling sky above …