Coming back to drive for a couple days before going on my days off, I was a little apprehensive as the White Lions had left the area, and effectively left us lion less. I know there is a lot more to a safari than lion but for those that visit; it is a chance in a lifetime to view the king of the jungle in its natural environment and one of the most requested animals to view. Strangely enough the most consistently requested animal that we get, is Giraffe. When I asked why a giraffe, I’m often answered because they look non-threatening, cute and graceful. On one occasion on seeing a giraffe my guest commented, she has now experienced Africa, as for her the giraffe typified Africa.
I drift, yet again, getting back to the story at hand. So, at the back of my mind, lions were a worry as we headed out on our first drive. I say back of my mind because we knew that Rockfig Jnr had a kill in the South that she was at with her two cubs that should make for a great curtain raiser for my guests first drive. Slowly heading in a Southerly direction with the drive all planned out, a rookie mistake, we were about to be thrown a curve ball. A call came in over the radio that three female lionesses were located in the West, before it had finished coming through Jacky had already given me a look that told me there was a change in plans, and that we would be responding. As we headed towards the area of the sighting the directions for the best approach constantly changed, never a good sign. It meant the lions were highly mobile and there was the chance that the station in lock and control could loose them. Getting closer we spent a fair amount of time driving around in circles as the lionesses apparently could not pick a direction, I wonder if the are not related to the White Lions, as they have had us running in circles many a time! Finally we caught up to them and it became apparent as to there lack of direction, they were on the hunt. They were stalking Impala, getting closer and closer, they where nearly at the rush and pounce stage, when one of the females on the flank broke. Instead of rushing towards the Impala she ran off into a nearby bush growling, with which the remaining two followed suite, a scuffle ensued and it was only as a hyena high-tailed it, or I should rather say, tail tucked between its legs, in the opposite direction, that we realised what was happening.
Worries put to rest, we continued on to visit Rockfig Jnr and her cubs. Mom was soundly asleep in some high grass not far from her Impala kill, while her cubs were down in the riverbed working off their meal by chasing one another around, and anything else that happened along. Think a few francolins saw their lives flash before their eyes.
The following morning we were in for an even bigger surprise, it was the morning of The White Lions return, need I say more. That’s what I love about working here in the Timbavati, every day is filled with a surprise, and often more than one! If the White Lions were not enough, Kuhanye was found with another Impala kill, this was her third within a week. For a small female leopard she is a very capable and successful hunter, and apparently one with a big appetite.
True to his word Jacky and Morris followed up on the White Lions during their break, and found them not more than fifty meters away from where he ended his search that morning. They must have been watching him again!
The guys were on fire that morning, also finding Rockfig Jnr and cubs, as well as another three female lions not far from the Maghlatini Male and his three females.