Ndutu Serengeti Wildebeest Calving Safari: Jackals Taunt Lion Cubs …

Brendon’s Daily Bulletin:

In order to catch all the early morning and daybreak activity we left the Lodge before dawn – at 6am in the darkness, and made our way down the escarpment into the crater. It was just getting light as we arrived in the centre of the crater and what unfolded during the day was simply astounding.

The were hundreds of wildebeest and zebra milling around everywhere, herds of elephants, and birds all around.

We noticed a large herd of buffalo looking particularly nervous, and we made our way closer to them and not far from them we found a small pride of lions feeding on a buffalo they had killed under cover of darkness during the very early hours of the morning. We spent ages with the four lionesses and eight cubs. The cubs were around 5 months old, and were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Lions play Wim van den Heever-042

Their favourite game of the morning was to chase some of the many Black-backed Jackals that were present in the area – possibly hoping to get a chance at the kill at some stage. The photography we managed of the interaction between the cubs and the jackals was great and the entertainment was priceless! The jackals seemed to taunt the cubs, allowing them to within a meter or so before darting away. They seemed to be as amused as we were as they repeated this again and again.

We spent the whole day out and photographed some huge tuskers, –

Elephants Wim van den Heever-054

– the aforementioned zebra and wildebeest with tiny calves. We actually saw one still very wet little newborn calf – so new that it had not managed to stand yet, so we watched as it stood, fell over, stood again, fell again, until finally it mastered the art of standing and walking.

Breakfast and lunch were both served out in the crater for us.

A dusty breeze came up at midday, creating some fabulous effects with different animals in the foreground or background.

Zebra Wim van den Heever-023

Then we saw Golden Jackal, and lots of Grant’s Gazelles and Thomson’s Gazelles.

This afternoon we found another pride of 6 adult lions just lying around, draped across termite mounds, dozing and not particularly interested in their surroundings.

There were Black Rhinos and more huge buffalo herds, and before returning to the Lodge we found 2 more male lions lying next to the almost dry crater lake.

Finally we passed the lions we had seen in the morning. The buffalo carcass was almost completely eaten, and the pride members all lay around, fat-bellied and dozy.

We arrived back at Sopa Lodge to see a glorious sunset and our cameras were out again – one last time before sundowners and dinner. We are hoping that tomorrow will be as successful …