|Last night (Friday) was our last 4pm/evening game drive at Kapama (private game reserve in norther South Africa). As always another awesome drive and experience! We decided to first check look got some elephants and we did..a about 10 around a water hole. First, we had one give us a few warning behaviors (flapping ears and low trunk) and then be moved pretty quickly towards us so we backed up and he went on to a new tree to eat on. Then a smaller one/youth, got agitated and did some trumpeting. He still wasn’t happy and came right at our tracker, Elvis and was about 2 feet from him at the front of the truck but the little guy moved on. It was a bit scary for a moment! After that it was on to uncharted territory for our guide, Abrie. And with out too much work, he located an old terminate mount that was now a den inhabited by 3 spotted hyena (male and 2 cubs). We got right up on them and one of the little ones came right up to the truck to check it out. The guide said he was just curious and want to sniff around. He was pretty cute, I must say. But the real highlight of the night was still to come (which we didn’t know). After we stopped for our evening sundowner cocktails, Abrie let us know we had some place to go and we needed to hold on! LOL we zipped across the reserve! If you recall, I shared the story about the 3 brothers and the father. Tonight we got to see all 3 brothers together sleeping around the same area. We again, got with in about 5 ft from them and they didn’t seem too worriedly about us. One even appear to stay asleep while we backed up and turned around to get a better view. The oldest brother (the one we say on our first night) stood up and did a huge yawn...it was so cool to see (of course, no photos of that) but we did get some pretty up close photos (included here). Again the adrenaline just gets running when you are that close and never sure what they will do. It was an awesome night!!
Today, our final game drive #6 at Kapama, was a little cold and rainy, but make for a terrific morning drive. There was a big thunderstorm that came through last night. In general, we didn’t see any animals but cruised around to see what we could find. Abrie asked what was the one thing we wanted to see today, my selection....the father lion (with one eye). Jordan wanted to see a leopard mom and cub in a tree with a kill. We did see more warthogs, a few zebra, giraffe, a terrapin and many birds. Given the cooler temps and we ground, we thought we would see more animals out and about...but that wasn’t the case. Abrie took us back to were we had sent the female leopard (aka Princess) yesterday with her kill; apparently she was up in the tree. We did get to see her and again she just sat their calmly and watched us. She is so stunning and blends so well into the landscape. Too cool! Time for some more cruising around to see who else may be out and about. As we arrived at our next spot, we had no idea what we were going to see but Abrie handed Elvis the machete, which was a little unnerving, we had not needed that before in any instance. Low and beyond there he was...the father lion with one eye! He was absolutely beautiful! I even shed a tear I think, we were all just speechless. He keeps pretty well out of sight and can be a rare sitting. He had made a kill and another tracker noticed the drag marks across the road and into the bush. I should say the machete was used to wack away some branches in our way. Amazing!
We stopped for morning coffee break and Abrie got “the call” and there was something for us to go see..off we went. I should share that all the guides use a radio system to communicate activity and sitings along the drives. We went back to see the leopard because she had moved a portion of her kill out of the tree and was snacking (on the right side of the truck). Again we got very close, adrenaline kicked in and we were very quiet. And just as Abrie said, it would be cool if a hyena showed up, we turned to our left to see a lioness slowly walking towards the leopard. We were in awe of what could happen...and just in that moment the lioness runs at the leopard makes a huge growl and the leopard takes off with the lioness behind her. Once the leopard was gone, the lioness came and grabbed the carcass. However...two other lioness and cub came along too and the first lioness grabs the carcass and runs off...the other 3 follow into the bush. None of us really caught any of this on video (we sure weren’t prepared to for that to happen) but we have some footage with the growl and chase. We moved on and sure enough the leopard came back running across the road and she was heading back to the area. We watched her go back into the woods....but didn’t stick around to see or hear what happened next. We had bags to pack and flights to catch and we certainly didn’t want to get in the middle of the circle of life! That was surely Abrie’s “mic drop moment” he said. LOL it was breathtaking to see....watching National Geographic footage right in front of us. Speechless!
We are now in Johannesburg (1 hr flight from Hoedspruit to Johannesburg) until Monday and tomorrow is a full day of touring with stops to the apartheid museum, Soweto and Nelson Mandela’s home. While no game drives, LOL, should be a powerful and educational day.
Good night from Johannesburg!