Is it worth it?
Being in the raining season one of the most frequently asked questions when on a game drive, or before you go out on a drive, is: “What are the chances of us seeing animals when it rains?” Our most common answer to this is: “It depends on how hard it rains as well as which animals we want to see.”
Quite recently I had a group of guests, staying at River Lodge, who had previously spent some time on safari. They had very little on their wish list of what they wanted to see. As they loved the bushveld, they were happy to just be around nature and its unbelievable little surprises on offer.
We spend some time on smaller things like trees, insects, tracks and dung, all the while still keeping a lookout for lions. I enjoyed this quite a bit, as coming on safari is not only about looking at wildlife, but also about being educated on the wonders and mysteries that nature has to offer. After scouting the area for interesting sights, we picked up on some tracks. I decided to follow them to see where it would take us. As we turned a corner there in front of us, would you believe it, we found lions. I could hear excited whispers and soft giggles, all of us enjoying an amazing sighting. After all, who does not love lions?
With the cooler weather the lions are a lot more active, especially the youngsters. And with this specific pride we had a two months old youngster keeping us entertained. Playing with his mother’s tail, jumping over its aunts and biting them all, makes it an unexpected yet unforgettable sighting.
After a watching the lions for a while we decided to move on. I found a nice open area, slightly hidden from the gusting winds, for us to have a sundowner drink’s break. With a beverage in hand, watching the sun descend, chatting and laughing about the earlier antics of the young lion cub, it started raining again and some of my guests wanted to return to the lodge.
We clambered onto the vehicle and made our way back to Kapama River Lodge. During the time spent dropping my guests off at the lodge, I noticed two of my guests weren’t ready to end their safari just yet. I capitalised on their adventurous spirit and we set out again. At that time of the evening the chances of seeing anything else was very small, and diminishing with every drop of rain.
However, luck was on our side. We found a group of hyena’s.
Finding a den sight is quite difficult, but finding one makes life slightly easier. Reaching the den, we found a female with a cub busy nursing, as well as a young male.
As we sat on the game vehicle, the young male became somewhat curious about the vehicle standing before him. He slowly walked closer and sniffed around the front tire of my vehicle, making it an exciting sighting and giving my rain braving guests valuable time to get some fantastic photos.
So, the answer to the question: “Is searching for game in the rain worth it?” In my opinion, Yes, it is! You never know what you will find no matter what the weather.
Story and photos by: Ranger Nanette – River Lodge
He slowly moved back into an open section of the bush. I followed him so my guests could get a few photos in before he decided to go deeper into the thicket. However, instead of moving further in, he lay down in the open with perfect photo opportunities.