(Photos from back of Dawie’s camera)
While having dinner we could hear Wild Dogs yapping and calling in the distance. They have small pups and it sounded as though they were unable to find them and were therefore calling again and again.
With this in mind our early morning game drive started with a search for the Wild Dogs. As we drove along we first came across some hyenas, but when we reached the area we had pinpointed all we found were dog tracks that criss-crossed in all directions.
But then our attention was diverted by a Honey-Badger. The little fellow dug furiously in the ground as he foraged next to the river. Because he was so busy and so active we just had to remain with him to photograph his digging and snuffling.
From there we headed to a small waterhole, hoping that lions and other animals would arrive for a morning drink. There were plenty of Guinea Fowl, but no other animals at that moment. But about 100 meters or so past the waterhole we spotted a shape that on closer inspection turned out to be a solitary male lion. No, not one – as we drove even closer the one lion turned out to be three. They were asleep and as it was quite warm we left them to rest during the heat of the day.
Marabou pan was our next objective, and as we drove in that direction we could see elephants at the pan. Then, as we drew closer we noticed three lions lying very close to the elephants. It was wonderful to photograph both the cats and the huge pachyderms in one frame. All was quiet for a while, but then the lions decided to move away because of pressure from the elephants.
It wasn’t long before we thought that there could be some drama. When Warthogs arrived for a drink the lions looked up, and took great interest in their presence. Aha, we thought, here we go! But maybe the day was still far too warm for action, and the cats, after a hugely interested inspection of a possible meal, simply flopped down and went to sleep.
Sandgrouse were very busy, and were interrupted regularly by Yellow-billed Kites that swooped to the pan for a drink. In fact, we had great fun photographing the grouse, the elephants, lions, and the kites, trying to get them into a single frame.
Impalas and jackals arrived at the pan, but there was little reaction from the other animals. On the way to the Lodge we photographed giraffe, tsessebe, and a few rollers.
Something different was on the cards for our afternoon drive. We wanted to locate the Wild Dogs again, and went to the area where we had seen their tracks earlier. Sure enough, there they were! While a number of adults sprawled in the shade five adorable pups did what pups do best – they cavorted, played, got up to mischief, and came to inspect us.
We really wanted to find a leopard, and headed to where a leopard with her ten month old cub has been spotted from time to time. We drove in circles, and although we could not see the mother, the cub was not difficult to find. It was a little shy without mom’s reassuring presence, but nonetheless we all managed to get some really superb photos. We left the cub after a short visit, not wanting to pressure or alarm it.
The lions were getting up as we returned to them, but as it was time to return to the Lodge we left them drinking at the waterhole.
Tomorrow is our final full day here, and we really hope that the lions will finally decide to hunt …