calling all around. Their calls turning to mad cackling - maniacal
laughter with another purpose ; they homed in on a kill and suddenly
all was quiet, but I was now wide awake. A low moaning groaning sound
came from somewhere outside - something dying? or living? I got out
of bed to make some tea. The power was off so i lit a couple of
candles and stared out into the black night. Stars bright as
torchlight shone back at me - the big dipper just visible above the
northern tree line.Somewhere out there elephants were browsing - their
primeaval screams rending the still air. Night passed slowly - tick
tock. Imagine how slow it would go if i was out there sitting under a
bush..with nothing but my wits to protect me. I could be in a lot of
Sometime before dawn i fell asleep , waking groggily after sunrise.
Lions are calling in the east. Grabbing cameras, binoculars, coffee
we head out to try and find them. We did not have to go far, two
females and a young male are arranged around a termite mound near the
track. Looking quite sleepy, but not completely - a condition i
empathised with - they blinked golden blinks as the morning sun found
their liquid eyes. Giant soft looking paws, folded neatly below the
chin; a splash of dried mud/blood makes a saddle on a tawny back
telling of the nights efforts to hunt. Heads nod, but are instantly
alert to any sound or movement in the periphery. Purple blue shadows
move around the termitaria as the sun rises. Butterflies flit busily
in a foreground of wild dagga plants.
Behind us water reflects ice blue and still as a mirror. Waterbirds
stalk the receding shores. A fish eagle breaks cover from a tall rain
tree and swoops accross to an island of trees on the far shore.
But these cats are still hungry. A group of giraffe appear from
behind the rise. Necks rising like a bunch of sticks - staring rudely.
The lions stare back, moving into a low ready-to-move position. The
giraffe stare interminably. Never get into a staring contest with a
giraffe! Finally they start to move off and become more interested in
each other again. The lions however are reminded of the need to feed,
and start to move steadily along the tree line until they reach a
vantage point over a small waterhole. The two females take up
strategic positions. A chubby looking warthog is heading this way -
head down, grazing, distracted. Tension mounts. Suddenly something
alerts him. His body changes shape with the tension of awareness. head
up, tail up, ears eyes nose - all the senses primed to receive
information no matter how subtle. He takes off towards the water -
the two lionesses follow at a steady lope.
An impala accross the water spots them and runs, raising the alarm for
another group of warthogs. Their cover is blown. They head back to
the shade of the croton bushes on the treeline - casting around for
other possible prey items on the way.
The suns warmth is intensifying though, and soon they join the young
male lion in the dappled shade. A francolin flies in to his usual
roosting spot - sees the lions and does a last minute swerve. Sleep
overcomes, heads droop and keel over, paws rise and fall, tails flick.
Time to sleep off the days heat - unless something tasty walks by.
(photos coming soon!)