Posted by: tim ellis | December 24, 2012

Just Cats:- Thursday 18 October 2012

Lions

A 5:15 coffee for a 5:30 start, which would have been fine if my alarm had gone off. So straight into the safari bus without coffee!

It is obviously “national animal on the road day” today, starting with a bull elephant right outside the camp. The giant African land snail, the locust, the tortoise and the millipede all need to learn they don’t have quite the same stopping power, while the kudu and (particularly) impala rarely hang around long enough for vehicles to approach them. The lions, on the other hand are much more successful at stopping the traffic – deciding to stop for a siesta in the middle of the road. While we are watching them, a herd of buffalo decide to block the road behind us. Eventually both species decide to move on and we are able to proceed.

Traffic jam

Breakfast is at the Golf Club (very posh) where I have another disaster – the left lens falls out of my glasses (the plastic strap that holds it in snaps) . Fortunately we are returning to camp from here and see little of note on our return. Back at camp I am able to get some superglue from the camp shop and make an emergency repair before enjoying a lunch of a mint magnum, which I just manage to finish before it melts.

We go for a short afternoon drive along the river where we spot some hippos who have come ashore to eat,when Leon hears news of a lion kill back towards camp. We are delayed getting there by another bull elephant deciding to block the highway, but once we pass him, we are able to find them. We passed the spot earlier, so can’t have missed seeing the kill by much. There is a lioness with one older and 2 younger cubs enjoying what used to be an impala.

Lions at the kill

Back to camp for a quick change of gear, then we go off for a camp-run “sunset safari”. There are 3 or 4 bus loads – we are joined by some others to make a group of around 15 people in a 21 seat bus. We head out and go back towards the site of the lion kill. The lions are still there, but not much of the impala is left. We watch for a while then drive on.

The “unique” point of this trip is that we stay out after the normal 6 pm curfew. As the light starts to go we encounter an enormous troop of baboons heading down to drink at the river. Then as it gets darker we turn on two powerful torches to try and spot animals by the reflection of the light in there eyes. The other side of the bus prove to be much better, or much luckier, or both – than ours getting us good sightings of lesser bushbaby, greater spotted genet, scrub hare and foraging hippo, and finally a smallish chameleon. All I managed on our side was a brief view of 2 impala racing alongside the van – it wasn’t worth calling for a halt as they would have vanished from view before it was executed!

Large-spotted genet

Leon and Julian are waiting for us on our return so we can go straight to dinner.

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