Ndutu Serengeti Wildebeest Calving Safari: Exciting Chases …
Brendon’s Bulletin from Ndutu:
Headed out as always in the pre-dawn darkness to catch up with the cheetah and the two sub-adult cubs. We found the three quite easily not far from camp just as the black sky changed to grey. They were sitting on a small mound, peering carefully in all directions, and checking anything that moved.
We spent a wonderful morning with them, amassing wonderful photographs as they stalked, hunted, checked around and then stalked and hunted again and again. There were two very exciting chases and each time we all held our breath in anticipation. Aaahh, so close! It was exhilarating beyond excitement to watch the mother running at full tilt –
– as she tried with all her might to catch the Thomson’s Gazelles. But although each chase left us with adrenalin pumping through our bodies, they were unsuccessful – for the cheetahs, that is.
The youngsters, meanwhile, were very entertaining … their interaction as they jumped on each other and chased each other around between hunts also kept our cameras ultra busy.
There were two lionesses with a zebra kill not far away. The lionesses had been feeding for some time and were taking a fat, over-fed and lazy rest with a couple of Golden Jackals as hopeful onlookers. The jackals had two pups with the mom, and they eyed the kill with their parent, maybe also wondering if and when they could venture closer.
All in all it was a wonderful morning and we returned to the camp for lunch as thick, heavy, dark clouds rolled in with plenty of lightning and thunder.
It started to rain as we left for our afternoon drive, and soon it was pelting down.
We found another cheetah mother, also with two young pups. They had recently had a kill as their bellies were fully distended.
We rather tried to find the mother with four cubs that we have not seen for a couple of days. While searching for them we photographed Lesser Kestrels. They were flying around and sitting around on the ground in a valley (Hidden Valley). They were seeking shelter from the wind and rain in the little valley, and it was interesting to see so many just sitting there, waiting for the storm to pass over.
We headed back to the cheetah with two cubs so that we could photograph them in the rain. We found them and captured their images with the rain pelting down, and with dark, threatening skies looming behind them. It looked awesome! They walked along close together, licked each other repeatedly, and gave us many different and interesting shots.
We are back at the camp now, enjoying indoor sundowners, as we speculate about the effect the welcome rain will have. Our final drive here in the morning before we depart for Serengeti at lunch time …