Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Karula and Nkuhuma pride!

Karula 19 Jan 2011
WOW what a morning!

As we drove out from camp this morning, staring at us from her vantage point, on top of a termite mound, was a lioness! I couldn't believe my eyes! I had to ask Herman if he also saw it! Adrenaline kicked in, as we started calling Craig excitedly "we've got lions, we've got lions, go live, go live!"
Driving closer we could see the 2 Gijima males and another female. It dawned on me to look for the cubs and sure enough there they were, next to one of the broth
ers! Locating the rest of the pride, we were able to get a bit closer and a better view of the cubs and mother eating.

To begin with I thought they were eating a zebra, seeing the head with a black muzzle, later the cub dragged it's prize away from it's sibling, so we had a clearer view. Seeing a horn I realised it might have been a wildebeest, but judging by the horn size I couldn't remember seeing a wildebeest that age in our local herd. It then dawned on me it could be a young buffalo calf, but having not seen them the day before or any sign of them I couldn't be sure! It was only when we made space for the other vehicles, did I see spoor of a buffalo herd on the Southern side of the open area! Mystery solved! A young buffalo calf it must have been, roughly around a year, year and half old.

Nkuhuma male 3 Sept 2010

We rejoined the pride as they meandered north on Galago short cut. The males looked interested in one of the lionesses, she could be cycling as they paid close attention to her, but no mating seen as yet. One male and 3 females broke away to the East, as the mother, cubs and second male continued North. We were lucky to have these stunning cats walk right next to the Ganda as they continued towards Buffleshoek.

The cubs took their time to walk past us, only then could we confirm they are 2 boys! Already a difference in personality. One willing to sit near us and walk in his mother's tracks. The other not to sure and taking a detour into the bush! Just before the small family disappeared over Buffleshoek cutline, the male tried to locate his brother by roaring, a rarely heard call during the day, but there was no answer. With an affectionate nuzzle from one of the cubs towards his possible father, they were gone!

The excitement wasn't over though! Karula had been found on the fire break, just north of Sandy Patch, close to Buffleshoek cutline. A distance from where we left the lions, we found her still resting in the shade of a knobthorn, eying up the impala who were very relaxed and unaware of the potential threat!

Karula 19 Jan 2011

We sat and waited patiently, just happy to be there with Karula. She seemed in different to the whole situation before her! As we thought she was settling down for the day, the whole drama started to unfold. Quickly she became alert and sat bolt up right. In the blink of an eye, she was slinking away towards a bush for cover from impala moving in her direction. She couldn't have been more than a few meters from them, you could cut the tension with a knife! But for some unknown reason she decided not to pounce. Instead, the herd continued on and she increased the distance once more, but still showing interest.

I decided this was a good time to move in the direction she was heading. Getting a wonderful view of her, she carefully checked the herd. When all heads were down grazing, she crossed the road as close to the ground as possible, to avoid detection. Unfortunately for her, someone was vigilant and gave an alarm call. But it became clear later on they were not entirely sure what was in the area and went back to breakfast. It had set the herd on edge though, so it became less likely she would be successful. Maybe she will wait for the herd to settle before trying again later!

Written by Tara

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Tara for the super blog of Karula, any sign of the cubs yet, very interesting of the Nkuhuma Pride too.
    Regards Doris