Whilst I was driving to find a perfect spot for a nice sundowner drink we stumbled upon an amazing sighting. My tracker switched on our spotlight and when we looked to the left we saw two little eyes peeping at us but at that stage we didn’t know what it was. Until we got closer we realized we were looking at a Black-backed Jackal’s den with cute little puppies inside. We stopped and waited and to our amazement more of them started to appear. They came out one by one and started playing with each other. With the mom nowhere in sight….
This was such a precious thing to see. After a while the mom appeared and quickly chased the pups back into the den, obviously very protective over her young ones. We waited and waited for them to appear again, but we only saw little eyes watching us from inside.
What a sighting…
Story by Eduan Balt, River Lodge Ranger
As we set off on our afternoon game drive we came across two cape glossy starlings and a squirrel. They we having an argument over a hole in a tree, the birds were dive bombing the squirrel and the squirrel fought back. After a few minutes the argument ended with the squirrel running and falling out of the tree.
We carried on to look for some rhino. We came accross some fresh tracks, and we teamed up with Divan and Harry and proceeded to follow the tracks. After an hour it seemed that we were getting close. As we drove down the road we saw fresh tracks coming out of the bush heading towards a water hole. We made our way to the watering hole where we found a male rhino being lazy, having a mud bath. After a while, he got up and moved off slowly into the bush, only giving us a few minutes of his time. It goes to show that once again team work and patience pays off at the end of the day.
Story by Roan Ravenhill. Kapama River Lodge Ranger
elephants-vs-lions (VIDEO CLIP) This morning we had one of the most amazing and intense sightings I’ve witnessed in quite a wile. It started with a sighting of a breeding herd of elephants. After watching them for a wile we left to follow up on some fresh lion spoor in the vicinity. We eventually spotted a sub-adult lioness at the very top of a Marula tree with non other than the herd of elephants surrounding the tree, trying their best to get a hold of the poor lioness. Then suddenly, everything just went crazy as the whole herd of elephant started to chase after the whole pride of lions.
The lions scattered in all directions as the lioness in the tree also got a lucky break, got down the tree and ran for her life, with a young elephant bull almost on top of her. Luckily she avoided being stomped on, but only just escaped a gruesome death. Elephants are quite fast, but lions are much quicker and more agile and this counted in their favour. This fact however did not keep the elephants from repeatedly chasing after and trying to get hold of the lions. Wave after wave of attacks on the lions sent them scattering time and time again, barely leaving them time to catch their breath and to re-group.
We can only assume that the lions took a chance to maybe prey on one of the infants in the elephant herd who is approx. 3 weeks old, and this would most likely be the reason the elephants where so intent on catching, injuring or possibly killing the lions.
The three young lionesses are quite “ambitious” and have been known to previously stalk rhino, and surely it shows that they still have an awefull lot to learn about staying out of trouble, and in the bush, experience counts for everything…
Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge
This week Mother Nature thought us the very important lesson of patience.
In the bush the animals and all things living go by their own time. They don’t plan their day according to a watch or a calendar or our game drives for that matter.
The first lesson was when we went looking for the illusive leopard. I passed one of the other rangers on drive and he told me about the leopard with her two cubs. They could hear the 3 leopards feeding on a kill in a small drainage line but could not see them as the vegetation around was just too thick. After convincing my tracker Las, we set off to the area to investigate. We got there and could hear them feeding. I asked the guests if they wanted to wait for a while. The cubs are at a playful age and there’s always a chance that they will come out. After sitting there for about 20 minutes we got a brief glimpse of one of the cubs. We maneuvered the vehicle around and found the two cubs playing in soft sand. It just proves that patience does pay off in the end. We spent a few minutes with them. The two youngsters were playing right in front of our car whilst the mum was feeding on something a few meters into the bush.
The other lesson came from the elephants this morning. By the time we got to the area where they found the elephants, they have moved deep into the bush. We could only hear them breaking the branches. Everyone was very keen on seeing the new babies so we decided to wait a while. Eventually they all came out on to the road and the little ones were playing and climbing all over one another. We were even lucky enough to see the newest addition to the family. A pink (albino) elephant, born a few days ago.
So I have learned my lesson for the week. Wonder what is next. Nature tends to surprise us and teach us new things in the most amazing ways.
Story by Marilize Minnaar, Kapama River Logde Ranger
We have been blessed with some fantastic, high quality leopard sightings recently on Kapama. Tonight was no different, just even better! Quite early on in the drive a young male leopard was found in the south of the reserve. He was quite skittish but the rangers that managed to see him before he crept into thick bush maintained their distance and gave him plenty of space. Not long afterwards a female resident in the northern part of the reserve was seen on a duiker kill with her two young cubs. After that another female was found in the north. She was lying in the inflow of Rooibok dam. She gradually moved in a westerly direction. She was walking with a limp and looked a bit bruised so it is possible that she was involved in a territorial battle with the other female in the same general area. I was on my way to view one of our male lions when I came across another leopard! This young male was crouching low in the long grass and as we noticed him he sat upright, gave us a look and decided he didn’t like what he saw and moved deeper into the bush! Unfortunately we were unable to keep up with him. Later that evening another female was found in the Eastern sector close to Main Lodge. She was quite relaxed. We believe that she has three very young cubs and can only assume that she has them hidden in the vicinity.
It is always particularly exciting to see leopard, as they are notoriously illusive and shy, so to see seven on Kapama in one game drive was phenomenal. It is interesting to observe how each individual is so different – both visually and characteristically. We are usually able to identify individuals by size and sex. Some also have distinct markings which helps us to identify them. And all behave and react differently to us, some being very relaxed in the presence of a game drive vehicle and others being more nervous and needing a far greater distance between us and them in order to be viewed comfortably.