On yesterday mornings safari we spent a great deal of time searching for a herd of elephants in the area, it took us most of the morning to find them, and once we found them, we noticed that they were behaving very strangely towards the game drive vehicles! Then we noticed why… a brand new elephant baby!!!
The calf was stumbling about in the middle of the group, struggling to find its balance in this new world it had entered into!
We will keep you updated on the progress of the youngster as he grows and learns more about the African bush!
“A change in the wind” by Wynand Erasmus van Niekerk
“We can sometimes predict the animals, but never the weather” is probably one of the best known excuses before heading out on a rainy game drive. We are in the end of our winter season, and the dry weather is starting to reach the end of its cycle.
Clouds are building on a more regular basis, with the days being warmer and more humid during the mid day, and the game drives not so cold during the evening and in the morning.
Summer brings us rain here in the lowveld, a phenomenon that takes place each year.
Summer is an explosion of flowers, with the bush changing almost at an instant. Most of our antelope drop their young after the firs rain, and the bush becomes a fairytale of lush green bushveld telling a different story every day.
So we wait in anticipation for the first drop to fall, not knowing when the first’s drops would break the sky, all we know is, and soon there will be a change in the wind….
It was cool and crisp morning when we took on the morning safari in search for four young lionesses that had been patrolling the area just south of our lodge. We were looking for them specifically because we knew a kill was to be made soon as we witnessed a failed attempt the night before.
Not long after we started, Harry my tracker stopped me and said that something was strange and that he only had the tracks for one of these lionesses, not paying too much attention to that we continued. About twenty minutes after, we managed to locate her all tucked up under a small Acacia tree still hungry and restless. She was looking around, focusing on any movement, moaning and turning in circles. She was alone and had separated from her sisters!
The next morning we returned and noticed she was lying next to a dead water monitor she had killed, still on her own we left her to her meal and continued with our safari.
I returned the next evening with my new guests and while explaining what had happened, we found her in the throws of killing a big pregnant warthog!
One can not help to think, that this must be a lesson from mother nature to encourage her to build up her confidence .She is still on her own but doing well, and once she gets back with her pride, which I think will be soon, she will have learnt to stay closer to the pride while hunting and to not get separated again. Well done my girl!
By Divan Vermaak
Assistant Head Ranger River Lodge
On yesterday evening’s safari, we were at one of the waterholes close to the lodge, watching a group of old male Buffalo lying about doing what they are best at, when we noticed a large group of vultures in the trees, a few hundred meters away from where we were! Which is a good sign of predator activity?
So one of the other rangers and I went to investigate!
We searched the area, and, with the help of our knowledgeable trackers, we came across the pride of lions eating a giraffe calf!
The giraffe couldn’t have been more than a month old!
Fantastic for the lions but a shame for the poor giraffe!
The female giraffe keeps a small distance from its young, most of the time, for its protection as predators would see her before the calf. This is also a downfall, when the lions discover the calf!
Now that our young lions are getting bigger, now at an age of roughly 15months, we expect the pride to be catching more of the larger species on a regular basis, to feed all the hungry mouths!
After a brilliant safari we returned to the lodge, where we were chorused by the male lion, roaring, to display his territory to the other males in the surrounding areas, while we ate dinner under the night sky!
Yet another fantastic day in the African bush on Kapama Game Reserve.
“Shadow in the darkness” by Wynand van Niekerk
I have worked in many different environments before, but one area that has always fascinated me is the lowveld. Not the area specifically, but the inhabitants inside it. One such animal is the Leopard, who can live in solitude right thru their life.
Leopards are solitary, and will only be seen together when mating or if females have young. On rare occasions you will see two of the same gender walking together, usually siblings.
Living on a Game reserve like Kapama gives you the opportunity to observe these cats at close quarters, some of them seen often and some not so often. Farmers still shoot them as they tend to catch their livestock, and therefore you will find some individuals that will never be relaxed. On a game reserve one tends to have a better chance of seeing these illusive cats, as they get used to the vehicle traffic after a while, and they know that we don’t mean them any harm.
As an example we started seeing a female with two cubs about 8 months ago, running from the vehicles as soon as we approached. After some hard work we have managed to get her relaxed with one vehicle, and we have had numerous sightings with her and her cubs silently moving thru the night without being fazed by the cars.
Thru conservation in areas like Kapama I’m sure we will be able to observe these usually skittish cats, and thru hard work hopefully we will be able to share these moments with our guests so that the word Leopard can become a reality for them and not just a image in their head of a shadow in the darkness…..