In Africa, you hear about the “Big 5". Years ago, they made a classification of the five most dangerous animals to hunt: 1) elephants, 2) lions, 3) leopards, 4) rhinoceroses, and 5) buffaloes. So far we have managed to see everything but the buffalo. Louis told us this morning buffalo are usually the easiest and first thing to see, but so far they have eluded our little group. We will hope for the best today...
This morning we ran into the Styx pride of lions. They entertained us by all going to a small watering hole and drinking. Then they decided it was nap time and proceeded to all lie down in the middle of the road and sleep or preen.
There was one lone zebra on the side of the rode who had an injured leg. Louis said if the lions find him it will be all over.
Next it was off to see another leopard family-a mother with her three cubs-one male and three females. It was actually the same male we saw Friday night.
We followed them around through the bush and watched as they all climbed a tree and wrestled around.
Driving around we saw a female rhino with two young rhinos of different ages and followed them for awhile.
We stopped at a watering hole for coffee where one bull hippo lives. He would peek the top of his head up occasionally. Hippos spend daylight hours submerged, and come out at night to graze. On the way back to the lodge we saw a small group of wildebeest among some trees. Unfortunately they were on another lodges land so we couldn’t go off road to get pictures.
After breakfast we went on the bush walk. This time we ran into some elephants and had to be very careful. We also saw one eagle. Still no buffalo...
This afternoon I walked out to our deck and saw a lone elephant walking in the clearing behind the complex-so neat to sit on your deck and watch the elephants go by. I read a little bit, then decided to do 40 minutes worth of sunbathing-on the private deck, where no one can see you, and then I took a shower in the outdoor shower.
Hallelujah! We saw two buffalo tonight! It took a lot of driving around but we finally saw one...and then one more.
After that anything else we saw was icing on the cake which included water buck (left), kudus (below), and hippos in the water.
One of the leopard moms walked for several miles down a road as she marked her territory along the way. As we followed her we saw a couple of elephants. Later, as we were driving in the dark we suddenly came upon a small herd of elephants crossing the road. There was a small calf and its mother wasn’t too happy with us-she charged at Michael (who sits in a seat in front of the hood), but he shined the flood light at her, and she backed off. It was the only time my adrenalin got going. Another surprise along the way was the young male lion we saw yesterday. He was lying in the road, and it came to our attention he is very malnourished–all of his ribs and vertebrae were showing. He also had an injured front paw and a large wound on one of his flanks. Louis tried to assure us that he had a good chance to survive, but I’m not so convinced. The last thing we saw was the Styx pride of lions–they were on the hunt so we followed them for awhile. The trackers knew they were headed towards a herd of impala, so we sat in the road with all of the lights off, listening for the kill. The only thing we heard was a snort of warning among the impalas, signaling the end of the hunt, so we headed back to the lodge.
ANIMAL COUNT: elephants-1 herd + 1, lions-11+1, buffalo-2, leopards-3, rhinos-3, hippos-1+, impala-numerous, wart hogs-several, wildebeest-small herd, eagle - 1, kudus - 2, water buck - 1