Our first sighting tonight was of an adult male African wild cat. It is more common to see these animals at night when they are most active but this cat was resting on the side of the road in daylight. Today’s domestic cats are believed to be descendants of the African Wild Cat, which were tamed by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago to control the population of rats and mice raiding their granaries. African Wild cats can be distinguished from domestic cats by their pink ears and their much longer legs. Pure African Wild cats are an endangered species and are only found in remote areas. This is due to a lot of interbreeding that has taken place with domestic cats.

Then after quite a long search we found our big herd of buffalos in the south of the reserve. They were quite spread out and once we found the start of the herd we saw buffalo around every corner. Some of the herd went to the closest dam and drank some water. 2 young males were practicing their fighting skills on the road in front of us. After dark we saw 3 lions. One adult female accompanied by her two 10 month old cubs. They we also found at a dam drinking water and then they moved north into the bush. As we followed they walked down a drainage line and the two cubs (1 male, 1 female) were playing happily, jumping on top of each other and rolling over each other.

This morning we braved the chill and went searching for rhinos. Eventually we were rewarded with a sighting of an adult female with a very long straight horn and her youngster. We also found lots of tracks for the male rhino who was closely following her trail. Otherwise there were some nice bird sightings. We saw 2 tawny eagles on a nest and 2 lilac breasted rollers perched in a tree surveying the area for prey. The Lilac Breasted Roller feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, occasionally lizards, crabs, and small amphibians. They take prey from the ground. Rollers are monogamous and highly territorial. Rollers are mostly migratory and have usually begun their migration at this time of year. However, due the unusual weather pattern this year and the late rain there are still some left behind!

Sarah-Estelle Sangster

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