I must say …. I am jealous. Our guests are enjoying the kind of sightings as of late that I would really love to experience myself, but I am just too busy. Joking aside: I am more than very pleased with what we are showing to our guests these days. It’s spectacular stuff, and some of it is VERY unique. Don’t get me wrong, you can see elephants on quite a few reserves. But to enjoy them so up-close, and in such a private setting, that’s very, very unusually exclusive. Special moments indeed … and then our cheetahs … that’s so unique, and rare, it isn’t even funny.
Yesterday, we tracked and found a White Rhino on Muruti as we were actually looking for the Cheetah.
Uyai picked up fresh tracks and pursued on foot – we found them not long after. They were on Caracal Road and had only walked a couple of meters when they decided it was time for a nap. Smack bang in the middle of the road they flopped down. We got some great photos. Lazy cats, and oh so beautiful. Just an amazing sort of sighting.
This morning we were on the hunt for elephants, and together with MRL guides we tracked and found them on the Eastern River Road. We sat with the herd for about 15 to 20 minutes just watching them browse. It was a great sighting for all of us. You can see on one photo how close-up you can be to these massive animals … and also how big they really are.
I particularly like the European Roller we saw. We have hundreds of beautiful species of birds on our reserve. Often overlooked, and yet totally fascinating. True African safari connoisseurs will be astonished about the sort of bird wildlife diversity we have here.
And yet again a great day: great weather, great set of guests, lovely atmosphere, and amazing sightings to throw in.
Today, Themba and Uyai tracked the Elephants and found them West of Jackal Plains. They were moving about in the Riverbed and we took some great shots of them. Some of our guests couldn’t wait to see our herd of elephants, so the reward is all the more palpitating.
We tracked and found the Cheetahs on Leopard’s Bend, we approached them on foot as they were very relaxed. We spent some time watching them sleep and took some photos. You can also see some photos of the guests swatting ticks off themselves with Guarri bush, there were lots of laughters … no wonder, walking up to cheetahs. That’s the sort of experience you will just never forget.
Another two fantastic drives! Yesterday, we tracked and found the pride of Lions in the afternoon on the Essem clearing. They were pretty relaxed. We spent around 20 minutes with them, but no visual on the cubs … where were they? Survival rates of lion cubs are not high, so it’s always a very anxious moment in the first 3-4 months … not even 1 in 2 cubs ever makes it to adulthood. Lion cubs have many enemies.
So this morning we decided to track down the Lions again and success!! They had taken down a small Kudu and we saw the CUBS! It was the most adorable thing ever. They nibbled on the carcass – still pretty unsure of meat. The male was pretty relaxed with them but after a while he got annoyed and took the carcass to another spot to continue feeding. First things first!
We sat with the Lions for nearly 45 minutes! It really was just one of those very rare moments that not many people get to ever experience. One sees it one TV, of course, but to witness a “family” event, so up-close, for so long and in real, that’s really quite something … and pretty much only on a reserve as exclusive as this one.
And as if our day couldn’t get any better we saw Rhino on the way back to the lodge. Well … amazing day. What else can I say?
We had a great day yesterday! We initially set out to find the Cheetah, this was our main goal. As we set off
from the lodge we got Nyala and shortly after a Tower of Giraffe. A curious Warthog posed for some photos. Uyai picked up some fresh lion tracks and we set off determined to find them. We had to basically make a road through the thicket – but it all paid off!
There they were lying in the dry river bed, being lazy lions as usual. We easily spent around 20 minutes with them.
On our way we saw a Rhino Bull and only managed two photos before he moved off. We drove to “Porcupine Dam” for a sundowner and caught a glimpse of one of the Crocs lying outside the water. Uyai managed some photos through the trees.
This morning we had no specific plan – but we were leaning towards finding the Cheetah again. And then we spotted FRESH elephant tracks! We have been looking for the herd for nearly a week now (which is very unusual!) So we decided to follow up! And, wow, did it pay off!! We spent close to an hour with the herd, watching them browse, the little one was very playful and provided us with some great photo opportunities. I especially like the one youngster who had a huge branch in his mouth, fooling around. Our guests were very, very happy, and I think it’s obvious why that is … a truly amazing day. And as always, it never quite turns out the way you planned it, over here, nature plans things for you. And that’s really nice actually, every day is totally different.
Uyai is back from leave! We started our morning with a Tsessebe when Uyai immediately picked up fresh Cheetah tracks. We found the two lazy boys on Leopards bend, they were already taking a nap in the morning. After the Cheetah we found some Black Backed Jackal – you can tell that winter is slowly creeping up on us as they were curled VERY snugly.
Uyai then picked up fresh Rhino tracks and we decided to investigate. We found a big Rhino bull that was wallowing in the mud. We watched him for a couple of minutes and then he decided to mark his territory – Uyai snapped some cool photos!
We stopped off for some coffee and took in the beautiful crisp morning with the Drakensberg in the background. Even Mr. Crocodile greeted us! How nice.
The content of this blog is of an explicitly sexual nature, readers beware.
So … on Friday our guides went out, with a quasi full game driver, we had received reports of a lion sighting, near a lake we call “Deep Dam”. Well … the report was correct, the entire pride was there. No views of the 3 little cubs … I can’t wait to see them soon. Hopefully they will make it, mortality rates amongst lion cubs are very high, above 50%. Fingers crossed.
Speaking of offspring – the male lion seems to still not have enough of that, and so he’s still “busy”. VERY busy. Oh, and also totally unashamed. Right in front of our guests … to everyone’s general amusement. Fun fact: male lions can copulate over 20 times in a day!! In fact when in heat, they are so busy with that (and nothing else) that they lose a huge amount of weight, as they are unable to find time to hunt or eat. Men …
The perfect day is the combination of one of the most amazing (and beautiful) animal sightings, with a spectacular sundowner to follow. On these days, you fall in love with this world again, if you ever fell out of love. It is for these sightings and landscapes that our guests travel for thousands of miles … and return with memories to last a lifetime. You may leave Africa, but Africa will never leave you.
Yesterday Kim and Hannes spotted one of the very rarest cats on earth, right on our reserve, on their way to work (now THAT’S a way to get to work, not bad huh?). And not only that, it was a mum, waiting in the thicket, while her little ones were making it over the dirt road on the reserve: baby Caracals! The cutest ever, one could eat them up. But judge for yourselves and see the photos that Hannes swiftly took of the two sweet little things. I hope they will grow up to become happy and successful Caracals on our reserve. I am delighted to see that our conservancy has become home to yet another rare and endangered species. That’s something to be extremely proud of!
There is always lots to see on our reserve when you are out with our guides Hendrick, Uyani Themba or Togara … and every day is a surprise. And now and then, nature throws in one of those “perfect” days when we see pretty much the entire spectrum of animals that one can see here, in one day, on a day with just wonderful weather.
Yesterday was one of those days.
The weather was terrific, and the animals kept coming: cheetahs, owls, elephants, lions, lots of plains game. All oft them gave our guests some of the best photo opportunities that one can get in Africa, and that’s what South Africa is famous for. It’s one of those days when I am jealous of our own guests, because they get to see so much more than myself, which is ironic. Just kidding …. I couldn’t be any more pleased when our guests are returning, beaming all over, when their expectations have been surpassed.
Our safari blog had gotten hacked a couple of days ago, which is why it had been down for that time. All is back up again, thank God we have a great IT guy who was able to undo the damage that some Russian trolls attempted to cause to our blog. And to celebrate the return of our blog, I have great news to announce:
One of our lionesses has given birth to 3 cubs !! First litter in well over 2 years, so that’s amazing news. We suspected for a while that she had given birth, as she had disappeared from sight for several weeks. Lions’ lives are particularly vulnerable in the first weeks, so what mother lions do is that they hide them in dens to protect them and regularly move them from one den to another in order to not give the location away because of the smell buildup. Very clever.
The lioness was also very aggressive when we found her, and soon we knew why: 3 cubs! The encounter was quite short, and this is the best picture Uyai managed in the situation. Nonetheless, amazing news! Fingers crossed that the 3 cubs make it, that would be wonderful … ! I’ll let you know as soon as we know more.