Monday, February 7, 2011

The lions are back in town!

Nkuhuma lioness 6/2/2011
Hi everyone!

The Diva of Djuma has really got her work cut out at the moment! It seems like the lions keep popping up where she has been denning! First Tamboti dam, now Impala Plains!

WE had a fantastic day with the Nkuhuma females, cubs and the Gijima males yesterday. They were found on MMM opposite Impala plains during morning drive, after finding tracks all over the quarantine open area. Being bothered by flies, the family took refuge in the bush, under the low lying branches and amongst the tall grasses. It got to the stage we had to imagine the lions were there as they were so well concealed!

They had barely moved when we caught up with them on afternoon drive. The cubs made a feeble effort to play, but even they decided it was far too hot to continue and settled down to snooze again! After checking tree house dam for signs of Karula, WE headed back as the sun started to set and arrived in the nick of time to watch them wake from their full day of slumber. There was even time for some serious play before getting down to the business of looking for food! Here we left them to make space for other vehicles but we didn't have to wait too long before we were able to rejoin the excitement!

One of the male Nkuhuma cubs around 6 months old 6/2/2011

With light fading fast, we sat poised, ready for action, as the females slipped away with a possible target in their sights. Hearing the sound of hooves crashing through the bush, the Ganda sprang to life, but as we caught up to the pride it was clear they had not been successful this time! I was amazed to find they had collected at the same spot we lost Karula just 2 days previously!

It was still magic just to sit with these icons of Africa in their element...darkness. The chorus of the bush set the mood. Sitting under a blanket of stars, the silhouette of the lions was almost haunting. True ghosts in the darkness!

I am sure Karula is a few steps a head of them and has the cubs in a safe location. I met one of Vuyatela's guides on the road that day and he told me he had seen her tracks heading South, towards Gowrie Main. I think she is going to lay low for a while again to avoid any possible detection by her feline cousins!

Written by Tara

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