Wim Reports from Okavango – Machaba: Lions, Wild Dogs, Kills, … and more …
Because we were sure that the large pack of Wild Dogs would be hunting again this morning, we headed to where we had last seen – or rather heard them last night. We found tracks everywhere, crisscrossing back and forth, and as we followed and backtracked we found dog tracks covering our recent tyre tracks. So close!
But we stopped for so much other game! Lechwe leaping gracefully through the air, giraffe peering down at us from their lofty heights, and so on. The highlight for us was a huge elephant bull in musth, and with all that testosterone flowing he put on a magnificent show for us. He kicked dust around quite aggressively, tossed his head fearsomely and held his trunk up high, signaling his powerful presence to all! He was awesome to watch and we were able to fill our memory cards with some outstanding shots of the huge fellow.
We returned to the Lodge for a quick lunch and heard that lions had moved into the Mogotlo area, and had already taken a waterbuck. We went straight there and sure enough – there we found four very large lionesses, looking even larger after gorging much of the waterbuck. In fact, they were so distended that they found it difficult to walk and looked hilariously comical as they tried to move or to find a comfortable position to lie down.
They got up after a while to enjoy a drink of water.
We moved closer – not for the lioness this time, but for a large pod of hippos that looked fabulous in the late afternoon golden rays of the sun.
Then we received a call that another pack of Wild Dogs had been spotted. We set off along the Chobe Cut Line to join them, and arrived shortly after they had taken an impala.
We found the interesting interactions between the six dogs totally absorbing, as our cameras tried to capture all the actions, nuances, snarls and ripping of meat that characterizes Wild Dogs feeding.
A lone hyena arrived and looked on hopefully as the dogs ate the impala until there was virtually nothing left. It was strange to see the hyena standing quite still on one side, staring and staring at his hoped for meal vanishing before his eyes, while the dogs did not even glance in his direction or acknowledge his presence in any way.
By now it was really late, and we needed to get back to the Lodge. But that wasn’t to be. A flat tyre delayed us – but gave us a chance to enjoy the sundowners we were planning to forego!
Then we saw not one, but three separate Giant Eagle Owls. Each was perched so perfectly that we simply had to stop each time for photographs.
Finally we are back at the Lodge and really hungry. The smells from the dining area promise another sumptuous meal!
Tomorrow we would like to check on the dogs – and on the lions again … a number of scavengers will have arrived at the waterbuck carcass …