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The Pursuit of Cats and Dogs - Timbavati, Sabi Sands


Kitsafari

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Kitsafari

we ended the morning drive with a little disagreement. Warren was really excited to see Southern Ground hornbill and he explained that they were very rare. I knew they were vulnerable but I didn't think they were that rare since we saw quite a few of them in Tanzania, and we saw them again in SOuth Luangwa and again in Kenya. Maybe I was lucky, but Warren said that couldn't be since they were endangered. perhaps he thought I mistook what i saw as the those big black birds but well I i know what I saw.

 

anyway, this time round there were four of them separated quite far from each other, and that made it tough to get a picture of all of them, let alone one of them because the grass was so high. this would be the only time we saw them in Kruger so Warren was correct to say they were indeed rare in this area! the sun was high, and the light was harsh as we tried to do the iconic bird justice.

 

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It's been over a month since we'd returned from a trip to Kruger Greater Reserves and I thought it best to get a start on it, or I'll never start.   A lot of people start their maiden safaris in So

for the rest of the morning, we drove around hoping to see the leopard cubs again. the mother leopard slipped off and we were about to follow when I spotted a tiny head.   Can you spot me?    

i think we took about 45 mins or so to reach a crossroad where the other 2 Makanyi vehicles were. They had been enjoying the view of the resting Avoca lion pride with sub-adult cubs but the pride had

Kitsafari

the afternoon drive was a most pleasant and enjoyable one as we drove around to a few of the waterholes created by dams that kept water supplies permanent for the wildlife. the most memorable experience was stopping to observe a young bull elephant browsing some bushes by the road. He took offence to our presence and as all growing teenage or young adults do, he decided to test us. he moved to the front of the vehicle to challenge us, but the soothing words from the ranger and tracker didn't calm his nerves as he flapped his ears at us. he crossed the road but crept to my side to take a huge sniff of us. I probably smelt bad because he didn't like what his nose sniffed and made a squeaky trumpet at us. I have to 'fess that at that moment my heart was pounding faster and I shrank just a little into the vehicle while I continued taping. after what seemed to be eternity (but was only 3 mins!), he decided he couldn't chase us away and turned away to move into the bushes.

 

 

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Ain't happy at all

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after that moment, what more would I need than another elephant to calm my nerves and restored my peace with the pachyderm. and a mum with a baby, relaxed in our presence. ahhh, the beautiful giants of the land mammals.

 

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Kitsafari

more prolific wildlife for that afternoon as Luck says engage...

 

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a beautiful bird but i don't seem to have a name for it. @@michael-ibk help!

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ubiquitious LBR

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burchell's starling

 

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tawny eagle?

 

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Kitsafari

and all too soon it was time for our first sundowner in Kruger

 

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and of course the glorious sunsets (among other things) that bring me back to Africa again and again

 

 

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a double glow?

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sinking fast

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Drakensberg mountains

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Kitsafari

One more surprise. warren got on the radio, and told us guys there's a male lion that just chased a pride off a kill. it's really far but do you want to go see him? need he ask? ferrari safari well served and we took the high road which is a long road. it was dark when we crossed into Shindzela concessions and we crashed through the bushes and thanked the vehicle there for staying as a landmark. The lion had already fed and that meant only one thing - time for bed. we never did find out who he was but he was flat out and wasn't in the mood to tell us who he was.

 

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Kitsafari

@@Kitsafari Indeed, I only saw one cheetah at Londolozi and we were told it was very rare. I have never seen a caracal and would LOVE to! Same with a honey badger, actually!

 

@@SafariChick not that I wouldn't want to see a caracal again. I would love too because they are way cool and way sleek and way beautiful!! Love that little flick of hair on those marvellous long sharp ears.

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Peter Connan

White-crested Helmetshrike @@Kitsafari.

 

Really enjoying your trip in my favourite area.

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Thank you for posting the Southern Ground Hornbill images.

I've seen them in Masai Mara, but not elsewhere.

Once a family group of them surrounded the safari vehicle.

I'm glad that you stood your ground on what you'd observed.

By nature I'm exceedingly reluctant of ever telling someone else that they couldn't possibly have seen what they'd felt they observed.

I trust others to know best what they've observed. If they're mistaken, what of it?

Nice photos in your highly enjoyable trip report.

I'm wondering if there was ever a special celebration dinner for your Silver Anniversary?

Tom K.

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elefromoz

@@Kitsafari, great vid of the Ele, that trunk sure got a workout.I think he liked you!

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I also liked that video and, like @@elefromoz, was struck by how active the ele's trunk movements were.

Edited by Marks
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TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

Love the leopard cub - a beauty.

Great sightings all along - and a really enjoyable video of the elephant (I am glad I wasn't the tracker!)

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Kitsafari

@@Peter Connan thanks Peter for the bird's ID! i'll commit it to memory (which is over loaded by the way ). and thanks for reading the report. :)

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Kitsafari

@@Tom Kellie thanks Tom! i do like the loud sounds they make and they are large but so good to see them. they always remind me of my first safari so I am always on the lookout for them.

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Kitsafari

we had grand plans for our PV - a full day workout! well, we had actually thought we could return to the lodge by 5pm but when Makanyi says full day, they mean FULL day and Warren had a record chalking up a continuous game drive for 13 hours 50 mins! I felt a twinge of guilt dragging the poor sick chap out the whole day and I think that was his sickest day that week, but adrenalin kept us going. I'll tell you why....

 

The lions were roaring throughout the second night at Makanyi (which I was so happy to hear!), when I woke up at 4+, i could hear at least two lions roaring and they were coming closer to the lodge. H went out to the deck and the roars were so loud I was sure they were in the vicinity. So we had to go look for these male lions announcing their presence. First, we followed the tracks of a single male that seemed to have gone ahead. we gave up after a while and turned towards the fences which marked the Makanyi lodge perimeters. (The electric fences are high to keep the elephants out but not that high that antelopes and big cats can't walk through). we arrived just in time.

 

three males were walking out of the perimeter. and it was such a regal procession as their big padded paws made no sound as they walked through the 3 Makanyi vehicles. Although Luckson was quite convinced these were the Birmingham lions, I later found out that these were the Giraffe coalition. as the handsome lions passed the trackers seated right at the front, they glanced up and I wondered if the trackers felt any slightest twinge of concern. I later asked Luckson, and he seemed geuninely unconcerned adding that now he was used to it.

 

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Kitsafari

The human admirers stalked the lions who walked to an open space and flopped to their favourite day positions. well, after walking all the way through the night, I couldn't blame them for being exhausted. the cats watched the sun rise,just as we did, lifting their faces to catch the golden light and warmth after a chilly night. now for some lion-fest....

 

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Just love the liquid gold in their eyes when the sun hits them.

 

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Love your lion-fest!

The golden-orange light intensifies their coat color in such a pleasing way.

The shot of the dark foot-pad is especially interesting.

A lion traverses so much rough terrain, thus needs a resilient footpad.

Yet in your photo, it's in fairly fine condition. I wish that my tattered feet were likewise!

Thanks for these lion images, from a committed lion fan!

Tom K.

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Kitsafari

we were told a leopard had been heard to the east (or was it the west?) side of the Makanyi lodge, we turned back to the lodge to chase the lead. we (warren and Luckson!) searched the tracks and trees and bushes east side of the waterhole but turned up nothing. no tracks as well. we found out later that the source had given the wrong side of the lodge. one of those pursuits that turned up nought. since we were there, we took some pictures of the waterhole and its residents.

 

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Makanyi lodge at the back of the picture...

 

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resident hippo I presume.

 

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i think it's a grey heron....

 

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3-banded plover

 

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a large web - it was made up of small spiders but I forgot to jot the name down

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Kitsafari

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Love your lion-fest!

The golden-orange light intensifies their coat color in such a pleasing way.

The shot of the dark foot-pad is especially interesting.

A lion traverses so much rough terrain, thus needs a resilient footpad.

Yet in your photo, it's in fairly fine condition. I wish that my tattered feet were likewise!

Thanks for these lion images, from a committed lion fan!

Tom K.

 

 

oh gosh thanks @@Tom Kellie, that was a pretty foot wasn't it? LOL. thank you for enjoying the pictures. for you then, one more pix and a video of the cats you love.

 

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Kitsafari

we came up against buffaloes again, and drove amidst them as they were browsing in the bushes. i've come to shed some of my fears about these hardy creatures - taken on in tanzania where I swear they looked like they would gore you to pieces if they could. with some many lions after their hide, I can't exactly blame them. I realise that cape buffaloes may look fierce sometimes, but a breeding herd seems quite placid. and they have a certain rugged beauty to their faces, especially when they are contentedly chewing!

 

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then a call came that the Avoca pride of lions had been located and since we had yet to see a pride, the ride to that location was a must. It was a long drive but as we were going down the slopes, we could spy a vehicle across the valley.

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Tom Kellie

we came up against buffaloes again, and drove amidst them as they were browsing in the bushes. i've come to shed some of my fears about these hardy creatures - taken on in tanzania where I swear they looked like they would gore you to pieces if they could. with some many lions after their hide, I can't exactly blame them. I realise that cape buffaloes may look fierce sometimes, but a breeding herd seems quite placid. and they have a certain rugged beauty to their faces, especially when they are contentedly chewing!

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Please do pardon me for jumping into your trip report again, disrupting the flow, but your incisive description above cannot pass unheralded.

Your eloquent description of the ‘rugged beauty’ of Cape Buffalo is exactly what I've felt, but never found words like yours to express.

I LOVE your writing above, @@Kitsafari! It's a gem of fine safari writing, hence an inspiration to me.

This is what I so enjoy about Safaritalk — from time to time a member will write a description which is so apropos, so evocative, so right-on-target that it takes me back to Africa.

Reading trip report comments from @@Atravelynn, @@Marks, @@TonyQ, @@TravelinTeacherAU and others have deeply moved me due to their perceptive comments.

As I like Cape Buffalo, I've fumbled around in an effort to convey their appeal. Happily, you've done so with élan!

Many thanks for giving Cape Buffalo the respect and admiration that they deserve.

Tom K.

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Kitsafari

@@Tom Kellie no disruption felt at all Tom. it's so nice to hear feedback when one does a TR. it's good to know that there are readers who are still interested in my oft-long winded report!

 

I find all the wildlife attractive in their own way, but marabou storks - is another matter!

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Tom Kellie

I find all the wildlife attractive in their own way, but marabou storks - is another matter!

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

哈哈哈!

Ha Ha Ha!

SO true!

Poor Marabou Storks — I hope that their mamas love them.

Tom K.

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Kitsafari

i think we took about 45 mins or so to reach a crossroad where the other 2 Makanyi vehicles were. They had been enjoying the view of the resting Avoca lion pride with sub-adult cubs but the pride had got up and went through a thick bush. we went around the block and came back to the crossroad where Rico and his guests were waiting for the lions to emerge. None came through. rico and his tracker, warren and Lucks came off the vehicle and walked into the thick bush to search for the lion tracks. they came back after 20 mins without finding even a hair of the cat. Rico drove off as his guests had seen the lions and had to get back to the lodge for breakfast. we were in no hurry to rush to anywhere so we went round the blocks until finally Lucks got off where the lions were originally resting, and tracked from that spot.

we met him across the block land he had found the tracks. he said he had heard growls and noises made by the cats. the lions had sneakily crossed at another section, going down the hill. Lucks said he would track them on foot through the bushes and warren looked a little worried as the lions were in there somewhere.

we drove down the road hoping to meet him halfway when warren spotted one of the lions. and quickly we could see a few more across the road. and ahead of us clouds of dust drifted into the skies. Warren radioed Lucks that we saw the lions, and quickly he followed the lions.

 

and soon we saw the reason for the dust. the lions were onto a large herd of breeding buffaloes. the lions were testing the buffaloes, trying to break them apart but the herd was romping through the bushes fast. a couple of buffaloes would parry into the lions who would scatter and then move forward, following very closely. as a herd united, they presented an barrier to the predators. but the bushes and trees posed problems for the buffaloes as some could easily stray from the herd and become easy pickings for the cats.

 

Luckily an open space was just behind the bushes and the smart buffaloes moved fast into it. it looked like they had intended to go there (there's a man-made waterhole) when the cats decided to make a preemptive move on them in the bushes. Once into the open space the bovines made a stand.

 

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michael-ibk

You certainly are an "awesome Lion-Buffalo interaction" magnet, Kit. :)

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Kitsafari

IT was truly thrilling to watch the predators chasing the prey in the bushes. although we kept on the road, as we didn't want to upset any balance in the battle, the cats were silent as they tested the buffaloes in the thick bushveld. we could hear the buffalo calling as they charged the cats once in a while, but it was just watching the play of cat and buffaloes that added to the excitement. the dust that was kicked off, the buffalo groaning and the cats running a step forward and dashing two steps back as a buffalo charged. it all added to the electric atmosphere. and we had the sighting all to ourselves for the most part of it.

 

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