Elephant Plains Safari: Thankful we are not Buffalo …
News from Villiers Steyn:
We woke to a cooler, overcast and windy morning with temperatures closer to 20degC than the 30+degC that we have become accustomed to.
We started with a search for Salayexe and her cub, but could not find tracks anywhere, even when we looped around in concentric circles. However, we did see drag marks which suggested that the hyenas had removed the impala carcass to consume it elsewhere. There was not even an alarm call from a squirrel or any guinea fowl to suggest the presence of a predator.
After a coffee break at the Serengeti area we headed towards the eastern part of the reserve.
There we found three lionesses – members of the Styx pride, and two of them were heavily pregnant with fat bellies and swollen nipples. The two lay on their backs, paws in the air, just too uncomfortable to lie in any other position. The cubs were sired by the Birmingham males.
Other than that we saw numerous impala, – and a buffalo, roaming around in the lush green grass that seems to grow by the day.
This afternoon was even cooler and darker than this morning … so we were not particularly hopeful that we would see much at all.
We searched around the area for Salayexe and cub again, but there was no sign of them. While searching, however, we came across a hippo lying in one of the small pools, while in the next pool we saw a buffalo bull, and a large herd on wildebeest enjoying the new grass.
When we stopped for early sundowners we three Side-striped Jackals came into view. The mother was lying at the entrance to their den while the youngsters ran around frenetically, being quite silly – and very entertaining. We approached on foot, but couldn’t get close enough for close-up photography.
After refreshmants we started our drive again, and soon found four of the Birmingham male lions. As we settled down to photograph them it started to rain, and we had an amazing moment where we could photograph the lions with strong backlighting and rain falling onto them. It was quite a surreal moment, especially as some of the lions started to roar – adding to the awesome atmosphere.
When the lions got up and started to walk down the road we pulled ahead of them to get images of all four walking towards us with rain pelting down. Magical! It was really special to see the four large, powerful animals walking directly towards us and totally dominating the space!
We were extra pleased that thank goodness we are not buffalo!
We left them to return to the Lodge, looking forward to a nice hot drink and a very welcome supper.
Tomorrow we would like to search for Salayexe again …