Lions - Big and Small

Trip Start Dec 25, 2009
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Trip End Dec 14, 2010


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Where I stayed
Siyafunda, Makalali Greater Private Game Reserve

Flag of South Africa  , Limpopo,
Saturday, April 3, 2010

I am currently inside listening to the rain pouring down outside. It's a good thing because it means more water for Wwinter but at the same time, it's really late in the season. This is the second big storm in a week, the other day we had rain all day. It broke for us to head out for what was supposed to be 90min just to fix up some roads (elephant pushed trees, etc) but about 1hour in it started again. We ended up doing a 3 or 4 hours drive with a mix of clearing hte roads and looking for the Collared Cheetah Brothers (Browning and Purdy). We found them in the end but we got fully drenched for the effort. it was definately a very close sighting though.
We've had a few good sightings this week - rhinos abound, hyaena (although apparently not as good as the sightings can get but from what I've had in the past, definately good in comparison - last night alone we got Sam, Steps, Spot, Mike and 2 other juveniles. Two days before we got Caleb, Steps and 3 others at the nearby dam and got a great scene of them around the dam, a brave wildebeest coming in for a drink, a grey heron and a pinkish red sunset in the background - only in Africa!). We've had some really good lion sightings this week that have topped all others. We were up in Pidua looking for rhino and stopped at a dam and randomly 2 males and a female were lazing about on the other side. One of them was ID'd as Xinpoko which means 'ghost' because it took months (years?) for them to prove he existed and wasn't another big male lion called Simba. Then in the next few days we got Zingela and Tumbelela (2 lioness) and their 5 cubs. We were looking for them but randomly ran into them at Solar Panel Dam so suddenly we had to back up so Me could get in the vehicle and not be out on his own on the tracker seat! (It would be like dangling a chunk of meat for them... even if they did look pretty full.) Yesterday I finally got a glimpse of the biggest lion on the property - Kalahari. And my gosh he was huge! He would definately compete with some of the bigguns I saw up in the Serengeti. M radioed them in when he was on his way from his place to the farmhouse and by the time we got there they found a warthog so they raced across the road between the 2 vehicles chasing the squealing animal. They missed (M said they didn't get up fast enough and just watched it for too long before reacting) but even still it was a great sighting. We watched them for about an hour as they moved closer and closer to the farmhouse but they seemed to have moved off since yesterday. Other sightings of note were a good elephant sighting where a combinmed herd of about 30 moved from one side of the river to the other side and headed past Thorny Thicket (appropriately named) and probably then Airstrip. We had them feeding quite close to us and had a few young bulls (and the odd adult female) telling us who was boss with shaking heads, ears out and trunks up. Anna (a collared female) got a bit of a shock when we had to move away a little (they started surrounding us and that's not a good thing when you're talking about animals this big) so she trumpeted and shook her head with vigour.
Around camp it's been fun - lots of laughing and jokes (no April Fools though because An and I got too tired... but we have plans for the future, haha), many a movie has been watched (though we needed to get a Family Guy episode running after we watched Quarintine and even then I dreamt I got attacked by a gerbil(?!).
We have almost every one new next week so it should be fun - apparently there's kids coming so enthusiasm should be up. It'll also be a full house so I have to move rooms (because I extended my stay here so the newbies take priority which is fair enough). One advantage of that though is if we watch another scary movie I wont have to walk across the pitch black lawn back to my cabin alone, haha! Should be fun!



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