We set of on drive this morning at about 6 am, not knowing what to expect. After about 40 minutes we came across an incredible sighting, which turned out to be one of the best I have had on Kapama.
As we came around one of the bends, BOOM, there’s a lioness dragging a wildebeest kill across the road. We sat there, amazed by what we have just encountered, and also by the strength of the female, just to realize that there’s some cubs with mommy busy making their way towards the meat. The Lioness gave us one good growl, looking at us as if to say this is mine. Another lioness joined in, and we watched 2 females and their young feeding, drinking and playing at the waterhole. After a while the lionesses dragged the kill into the shade, where they all lied down for a nap before starting to feed again a little bit later. We left them in peace, very happy about the amazing experience we just had.
Johan Taljaard (JT) – River Lodge Ranger
Finding lions is an amazing and rewarding experience, especially when we find our newly extended pride of thirteen lions. My tracker Alfi and I decided to look for this pride so that the guests could see the cubs – three that are around seven months old, and six that are now around two months old.
We went to a dam where they had been spotted the day before. Unfortunately, they were not there. So we followed some tracks as far as we could. Eventually, we lost them in a block. We decided to check another nearby dam. As we came around the corner, there they were – all nine cubs playing and tackling each other.
A few days before, I had seen the three older cubs bullying one of the younger cubs. However, on this day, all six of the younger cubs were giving their older siblings a hard time. When there is just one it is easy for the older cubs to bully the younger ones but when all six are together, the roles are almost reversed.
As we sat there enjoying this amazing sighting, we heard one of the adult females calling from a distance. Immediately, the cubs stop what they are doing to listen. As we turned our heads to the direction of the call, there she was looking at the cubs. She came down next to the water’s edge and all nine cubs ran up to her, rubbed up against her and greeted her with as much love as they could. The love soon changed into playing and jumping all over her.
This encounter between the lioness and all the cubs just shows us how family orientated these big cats are as well as why their bonds are so strong, which in turn contributes to their success in the wilderness. Their dependence and reliance on each other is one of the factors that make them so strong and majestic.
My guests and I will never forget this great encounter between these lions.
Kim Pretorius – Kapama River Lodge
Hippopotamus amphibious is one of the most remarkable animals in Africa.
The hippo is an aquatic mammal and thrives in the rivers and dams in Africa. They do everything in the water except eat and breathe and are extremely territorial, especially the males because they compete for the best dams and spaces in the rivers. Unfortunately, humans are repopulating the natural habitats of these big animals that they are battling to keep their natural habitats.
Hippos can hold their breath for up to six minutes under the water. They also cannot swim; they walk at the bottom of the dam or river and just resurface to breathe and they are also one of the few animals that have buoyancy control. In other words, they can move their diaphragm up and down in order to distinguish which body part they want to expose.
Due to their anatomy and their way of life, surprisingly, the closest relative to this majestic creature is the whale. I hope that these interesting facts will bring people to ask more questions about the Hippopotamus.
Pieter – Kapama River Lodge
On one of our morning drives we wanted to drive in an area where there had been a lot of leopard activity. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the male and female decided to part ways and only leave tracks for us to follow. That resulted in a full two and a half hours of unsuccessful tracking. As we accepted defeat we started heading back towards the lodge in disappointment.
For some reason we decided to drive a different road and suddenly ended up in an elephant herd. Since the elephants were completely relaxed we decided to sit for a while in silence and watch them. After a while, one of the very young, curious bulls approached the vehicle and slowly lifted his trunk towards Willis (the Tracker). A second time the youngster lifted his trunk and pointed towards Willis. Just as he got close, his mother called him back.
Soon after we left that special sighting we found some lion tracks heading into the bush. Since we had nothing to lose we decided to follow up and came upon our pride of thirteen lions all just lazily sleeping in the mid-morning sun.
Needless to say that this was one of the most special safaris I have ever been involved in and certainly the best ending to a very quiet start.
Jacques – Kapama River Lodge
After a heartbreaking event of a female leopard losing one of her cubs by a male lion last week, we all wanted to help the leopard but unfortunately, there was nothing we could do. This infanticide behavior is known to be the norm for predators, so we had to let nature take its course.
It was a relief to see the leopard in action today feeding on an impala together with the remaining cub. They were surprisingly very relaxed on the kill as if nothing had happened. This just shows us that nature can be cruel but it also carries on. I hope the other baby does not fall into the same trap.
Nelson – Kapama River Lodge