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The Pursuit of Cats and Dogs - Timbavati, Sabi Sands


Kitsafari

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SafariChick

@@Tom Kellie I'm sure their mamas do - and even I do. I love all the creatures - though I have a little trouble with some insects

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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

Like the sun rise reflected in the lion's coat. Very nice ro record it like that.

 

I hope I am not posting in the middle of the resolution to your exciting lion-buffalo cliffhanger - which you are photographing really beautifully by the way. I would wait to see, but I have to get back to work in a few minutes.

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Kitsafari

it was only when we followed the buffaloes into the open space that we saw how large the herd was. well over 200 I reckoned. the big male and females took turns to hold the fort while the others and the young calves stayed behind the defensive line. the buffaloes faced the lions, and faced us, just in case we were also the enemies. imperceptibly, the buffaloes switched positions guarding the front and at the same time, extended the distance between the cats and them.

 

The sun was moving higher, it was getting hotter. the cats stayed in the bushes. an adult cat, as cool as they are famous to be for, took a front seat and didn't even flinch when a buffalo charged into the younger lions. There were 8* of them although i think the Avoca pride is larger than that. three were female adults and 3-4 were 1.5-year old cubs and at least 2 juvenile males. gradually, the lions moved one by one, slowly and carefully as not to arouse the buffaloes, they merged into one group huddled under the shade of a tree.

 

addendum * : actually My initial count is wrong. there were at least 10 lions that I could count in one of the pictures.

 

 

Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

the lions were a really good looking bunch. so we couldn't help taking more pictures of them than the poor harassed, stressed out buffaloes.

 

we waited, and waited. another car came to join us driven by the owner of the land we were on, hoping to see some action. at one point, the lions all got up, alert and sniffing the air, and faced away from the buffaloes. they obviously heard and saw something that we couldn't see or hear. we only guessed the answer at the end of the day. we waited. in the end, warren said it was too hot for the cats to make any move. with the buffaloes effectively and successfully creating that huge wall, the cats wouldn't be successful if they tried to make a move now. he suggested we head off and have breakfast since we hadn't eaten anything since 5.30am. so we did. as such things often turned out to be it was an anti-climax. when we returned the cats had vanished completely. we couldn;t find them in the vicinity. Instead, the buffaloes were relaxed and lying down in the shade next to the waterhole and a calm bull elephant slowly winded its way to the waters.

In a way, I was glad I was spared the emotions of seeing a buffalo being killed. I know it would be exciting to see a kill, but i'm not sure if I can take it watching the light of life slowly being extinguished. but it was awesome to see a bit of a hunt. that is what you can get when you don't have to rush back to the lodge for a meal!!

 

sorry just realised I put up the same video as before!

 

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Go ahead, Make My Day

 

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nervous young lions with a lot to learn

 

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a young female cub taking a seat at the front row facing the buffalos. she's growing into a leader one day.

 

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Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

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

 

 

LOL. that seems to happen quite often with me around @@michael-ibk! i'm not complaining though. :rolleyes:

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Kitsafari

@@Tom Kellie I'm sure their mamas do - and even I do. I love all the creatures - though I have a little trouble with some insects

 

 

i'm sure they do. i find all insects quite fascinating as well. but no snakes or house lizards for me please....!

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Kitsafari

Like the sun rise reflected in the lion's coat. Very nice ro record it like that.

 

I hope I am not posting in the middle of the resolution to your exciting lion-buffalo cliffhanger - which you are photographing really beautifully by the way. I would wait to see, but I have to get back to work in a few minutes.

 

 

ahhh as you can see, @@pault, you didn't miss much. <_<

 

that's a big compliment coming from you on photography. always loved yours, so thank you, and thanks from H as well (the photos are a mixed bag of his and hers). :)

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Kitsafari

while all the excitement was taking place on the ground, and while we were eyeing the cats eyeing the buffaloes who were eyeing the cats and humans, a woolly stork decided to fly by and land in the tense no-trespassing zone between prey and predator. It was a sign of normalcy in another day in the bush.

 

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an elephant wandered into the plains unaware of the drama that unfolded just a couple of hours ago

 

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buffaloes more at ease although some maintained a watchful stance

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Kitsafari

elephant and buffalo sharing a bit of space and time

 

 

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@@Kitsafari

The photos of the "Giraffe lions" are beautiful - golden eyes indeed.

 

And then the lion-buffalo encounter - following on from your other comments about buffalo.

Superb photos of the lions facing the wall of buffalo horns. And what a gripping encounter which really increases my admiration of both species - cooperation between lions to increase chances of a meal, but also cooperation between the buffalo to protect the young and survive. Seeing them take turns to charge out at the lions - very impressive.

 

After such a stand-off, I would also be very pleased not to see a buffalo being killed.

 

As an aside, I really like your writing, so don't even think of reducing it!

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SafariChick

@@Kitsafari GREAT lion/buffalo interraction photos and vid! And love the ele hanging out with the buffs too!

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The second monochrome photo of the lion and buffalo herd in post #73 is incredibly dramatic. In fact, the entire series just oozes tension - tension that was let loose when I clicked play on your videos. Lions truly do have nerves of steel to stare down a united wall of boss and horn, though the buffalo themselves are perhaps even more impressive to me here. @@TonyQ has summed up my feelings to a tee.

 

Your elephant video affords us the opportunity to follow the dexterous movements of its trunk, something which never fails to fascinate me.

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Kitsafari

@@TonyQ @@SafariChick @@Marks thanks so much comments. Tony, I thought I'll cut back on the ramblings this trip. My OH says I talk too much, even on the video taping as well. you can just hear me rattling on and making such inane remarks that make me laugh when I listen back!

 

The buffaloes were amazing. that wall was just impenetrable. the formidable horns lined up, and even the females were taking turns to hold the fort. there were a lot of changing of guards that were taking place but after a while, the buffaloes realised the lions were not about to pounce on them and the young and older ones began to lie down behind that sentry line. Just amazing.

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Kitsafari

I'm sorry for the delay. I was away, then returned to ailing dogs and then today I have to vote! general elections for Singapore, and it is these times that you see a split between pro-PAP which has ruled Singapore for 50 years, and pro-opposition supporters who simply want a check and balance in Parliament.

 

Going on a safari will surely give the fanatic supporters a sense of unity! and a good dose of world reality. LOL.

 

we stopped at a waterhole for a break. while we checked out places for a discreet loo, warren and Lucks checked the waterhole for fresh tracks. None to be seen, so we piled back into the vehicle and Lucks saw bushes moving across the waterhole. the view from our angle was not the greatest, but the rhino shadow was moving from a bush to another, remaining hidden. the nervous disposition and the shadowy profile convinced warren that it was a black rhino - a really rare sighting in greater Kruger probably more rare than a honey badger I wager.

 

we stayed completely silent, hoping to draw it out. instead, a mother white rhino and her calf came trotting down from our left. they cautiously moved to the waters to drink, but they suddenly made us out with their poor eyes. although we remained quiet, the calf spooked and ran off with its mother in tow. The black rhino seeing them flee, also fled into the thick bushes. in the quiet of the moments, we were mesmerised by the free spirits of the calf as it cantered down to the waterhole and I was reminded how wonderful nature has been to me.

sorry, no pix of the rhinos in keeping with my promise.

instead a pix of a hammerkop which kept us busy before the rhinos arrived.

 

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we then spent over an hour chasing a report that came in of a cheetah along a fenced border but found out eventually we were going in the wrong direction. since it was the same cheetah from the last two days, we decided to stop and have a quick bite before moving on. The day was getting hotter and though we saw a lot of duikers and steenboks, and kudus, a lot more were hidden from sight. the smaller antelopes were challenging us - fleeting so fast that we could never get a decent shot, until this cute little fella, looking pretty confident, posed for us.

 

 

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a black breasted korhaan

 

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Kitsafari

Warren was fabulous in teaching us the ways of the bush, showing us a couple of survival skills. so you have the magic quarri or Euclea Divinorum or simply known as the toothbrush tree. you strip the thin branch of the bark and the frayed ends can be used to brush your teeth! I didn't get a picture of the bush but you can read all about it from this link: http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantefg/eucleadiv.htm

 

then there is the african wattle or Peltophorum Africanum or simply Loo paper - a basic necessity in your daily life using the leaves which are soft. so you gather a few of the branches of leaves and put them together for your needs.

 

and then there is the torchwood or greenwood tree. the dry fruit or kernel can be lit up like candles, that is if you find them before the animals do (not to light fire but to eat!).

 

and that is warren vainly looking for dry kernels to illustrate how a fire can be made. sadly all the kernels were empty.

 

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Kitsafari

The sun moved down from its highest spot, and the light was less harsh taking on a slightly golden hue. Dusk was quickly setting in when we turned into an open space and 7 white rhinos were just milling about. as we drove into the space, 2 tall male giraffes looked down at us curiously as all giraffes often do. we spent a while with the two species, which did not interact but occupied the space together harmoniously.

 

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One of the bigger dams in Makanyi

 

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yellow billed stork

 

 

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at first I thought the giraffes would be "necking" or fighting, but they seemed quite comfortable and friendly with each other. i wondered if they could be siblings. I've not seen two adult giraffes interacting so closely and it was quite heartwarming to watch these two gentle giants.

 

 

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Kitsafari

a call came in to say that some male lions were trying to take on the buffaloes we had left behind in the late morning. so it was another dash back to that neighbouring areas. When we arrived in the area, it was pitch dark. the other vehicles had already left for the lodge but since we came all the way there, we had to have at least a glimpse of anything in the dark!

 

Lucks heard plenty of rustling and buffalo calls and they led us to a dam. with only a spotlight to guide us, all we could hear was major rustling of the leaves and brushing of the sand as the horde of hundreds of buffalo were trying to flee whatever danger was lurking around them. A huge buffalo took up the rearguard, limping badly as he tried to keep up with the herd. as the spotlight flashed, warren's 20/20 vision eyes caught something in the dark. as it moved, we all chimed in "Lion".

 

at that point, i really felt for the buffaloes. they were harassed and hassled and nudged at by the Avoca lionesses only 8 hours earlier. and now the three male lions that we saw at the break of dawn of the same day were now pushing them hard. the males were following their every step and the buffaloes were trying to protect the weaker and younger ones, and at the same time, trying to get as far away from the males as they possibly could. we concluded that when the avoca lionesses were sniffing "something's coming our way" in the morning, they were in fact alert to the male lions' approach.

 

we were late for dinner, but we wanted to linger to see if anything happened. but after half an hour of going round the block and bumping into the three males again, we weren't sure if anything would happen soon. so we left, back to the safety and harsh brightness of the camp.

 

And so, we started our full day game drive with the golden and majestic lights of the Giraffe male lions, and ended it with the darkness and mastery of the male lions.

 

the latter part of this video was just blackness and I had hoped to convey the stressed energies of the buffaloes as they in one concert ran for their lives. It somehow didn't come through. but being there, feeling their fears and the urgency with which they ran, it was a mixture of thrill, fear, concern, mayhem mixed with the calls of probably a female separated from its young and calling to them.

 

 

 

 

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Great update. The break refreshed your writing - outstanding.

 

The rear giraffe looks suspiciously like it is trying to mate to me, although that would appear from the first picture to be futile.

 

No doubt you have to be careful in Africa not to mixz up your African wattle with your torchwood.

 

Hope your pups are okay.

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Kitsafari

Great update. The break refreshed your writing - outstanding.

 

The rear giraffe looks suspiciously like it is trying to mate to me, although that would appear from the first picture to be futile.

 

No doubt you have to be careful in Africa not to mixz up your African wattle with your torchwood.

 

Hope your pups are okay.

 

 

Thanks @@pault. both giraffes looked like males to me, or am i seeing things??

 

strong possibility of invasive surgery for two of the doggies. :(

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Kitsafari

after the exhausting full-day drive we thought to let warren and Lucks rest and start late. but they were up for the usual early drive so we found ourselves on the road early at just past 6am ready for what the bush planned to throw at us (anything or nothing would just be fine. after the dramatic beginning and end to yesterday, we would be just as happy with anything ).

 

we drove through the chilly air, frosted with the night's breath. the vapour blanketed the valleys, smoking the trees and lent an ash grey tint to the pink skies as the sun fought to rise above the mist. the animals were huddled in warm cuddles, hidden from our eyes by the mist. How I loved that mysterious glow, a promise that, though you might not see it now, the sun would soon melt away the layer of watery drops to reveal the beauty of the bush.

 

 

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Lucks with a fleece blanket warming his knees and legs bears the brunt of the chilly blast

 

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green backed Heron still huddled against the cold

 

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early morning risers

 

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green spotted dove

 

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crested barbet

 

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young male kudu

 

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Kitsafari

at the start of the trip, H's wishlist was for rhinos, which we saw a lot the last two full days, and dogs. in the excitement of pursuing the cats, we had almost forgotten the canines. but not everyone did. as we drove out, Warren said let's go find ourselves some dogs.

 

Well, if it was only that simple.... wild dogs being endangered. There are apparently only four regions in Africa with remaining populations of wild dogs and Kruger is one of them. even then, there are only an estimated 500 or less in Kruger and we were in one tiny area of Kruger. So what are the chances of seeing the stunning painted dogs.

 

well, the bush decided to be kind.....and - we were stunned - wish granted, said the bush. well, sorta. Someone else found the dogs running through a thick bushveld. we didn't care who found them, someone did and we were dashing on a ferrari safari once more, bouncing on bumps on the roads, throwing up dust, and yelling, sorry impala, no time to stop. I always wondered how the tracker never ever gets thrown off.

 

and that was when I found out what REAL pursuits are like. we saw from a distance the signs of the white tips and we got all excited. the tips vanished for a while as we tried to turn around and keep up. Warren drove into the bush like a madman, as we ducked many times with the branches whipping by us, and held tight as the vehicle scrapped a fallen log, and held our breaths as a tree was forced to bend to our will. (ALways always amazing and love to watch when the Tree snaps back up behind us!). the white tips weaved in and out of the bushes and the vehicle came to an abrupt stop as it became too thick to drive through. warren turned the car around and bounced us back to the road and came up against 3 persons walking out of the bush! seemed they were from the shindzela camp and when they heard DOGS, they ran to their vehicle and caught up with us soon.

 

meanwhile, we lost them. only for a couple of minutes. the dogs waited for us slow coaches, and we yelled there they are, and the chase started up again. keeping on the road, we followed the three of them on a parellel route until they ran in front of us ,which was real cool! then they split and i thought - YES, a hunt! but no, one of them stopped for a leak. again they ran into the thick bush which gave way to a wooded area, and we had to stop but the gungho shindzela vehicle went after them, with me looking wistfully after them, and wishing i was on their vehicle. we circled around, trying to second guess where they were heading and turned into the road that bordered the national park. the Shindzela vehicle was there, and they told us the dogs had returned to the park, where we couldn't follow (since we didn't have a permit to do so).

 

what a ride! i don't need the roller coaster to get the thrill and adrenaline flowing. we were just so happy, that the dogs found us, and that we found them, and that we shared some minutes running against the wind with them (figuratively of course). Thank you Warren and Luckson for finding them for us!

 

so, my video tapes were a total disaster because I forgot to put my camera on the stand and the tapes were so shaky that I became dizzy watching them back. and we couldn't get great pictures because of the rocky rides. Just a few bearable "artistic" ones to show how fluid and fast they were.

 

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Hat off to you for doing your civic duty at Singapore's polls today. At last, an opportunity for more voices to be heard.

Your photos posted today carry me away. No one jumps out as I like them all. As I've written before, the videos posted on Safaritalk appear as blank spaces where I live, thus I'm entirely dependent on the still images.

What you saw and photographed with your lively commentary makes for an engrossing read.

Tell your other half that we enjoy all of your comments, which give texture to your experience!

You're doing a mighty fine job of whetting my appetite for South Africa!

Tom K.

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SafariChick

@@Kitsafari love seeing the doggies! I can feel your excitement in your writing and it reminds me of my chasing dogs on a hunt in Botswana - love it! Hope you see them again on the trip!

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the latter part of this video was just blackness and I had hoped to convey the stressed energies of the buffaloes as they in one concert ran for their lives. It somehow didn't come through. but being there, feeling their fears and the urgency with which they ran, it was a mixture of thrill, fear, concern, mayhem mixed with the calls of probably a female separated from its young and calling to them.

 

 

You definitely succeeded. The videos (and indeed, descriptions) make me pause to consider the terribly stressful lives that buffalo (and other animals) must sometimes lead. It certainly goes a long way towards understanding their famously grumpy behavior.

 

I have never seen a kudu still working on its horns. It makes for a surprisingly different appearance.

 

Your wild dog chase left me breathless! And your photos of them look great (especially love the dog's face in the last one).

 

Edit - sorry to hear about your own dogs. Best wishes for their surgery and quick recovery.

Edited by Marks
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Kitsafari

At camp, we were treated to an elephant crossing! initially a lone bull was by the waterhole drinking copious amounts of water. a few minutes later, while lounging on the deck, we heard splashing in the distance. some elephants were having fun in the middle of the waterhole in front of camp. by the time we had thought of cameras and dashed into the room to get them, the elephants were close to the other end. there were five of them, with a lead bull walking out of the water and pulling ahead of the other four. I reckoned the other four were young as they held back and wrestled and pushed each other playfully. It was just such a joy watching them.

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