South Africa: Sabi Sabi Safari – Part 3

From Bob Conger:

Surely today will be a letdown after the past day and a half.

Off we headed at 5:30 am (a little earlier than the day before because of our enthusiasm) to see what we can find.  Our guide, Mike, had heard a lion roaring during the night, and was optimistic of another lion sighting.  His tracker, seated on a platform perched on the front top of the Land Rover hood, guided us through the twisting maze of dirt tracks with small gestures left and right, his eyes and other senses identifying a wide array of clues about what animals had passed by, and which ones were in the area.

Around a bend, and two large male lions sat on either side of the path, fit to be carved for the entrance to a library.  Beautiful as they sat quietly in the early light, occasionally yawning.  Fabulous to watch.

Around the next bend, the dominant male reclined on the road with the same lioness as we had seen prowling the area the day before searching for a mating partner.  She had found him, and we had the privilege to watch them mate, growling and biting at each other, several times over the next 90 minutes.  Unbelievable.

Eventually, we had to move on, making room for another vehicle to have a chance to view the king of beasts.

Another crackle of the radio (the rangers share quite a lot of information, and also coordinate to not overcrowd the animals) and we were off to follow a rumor of the leopard we had seen previously.  We approached a grouping of large boulders, and there he was, perched on top of one, surveying his domain.  As the heat of the day was now approaching, he was relaxing, and we enjoyed at least half an hour of watching him stretch and recline on the rock.

Later, en route to visit a local community, we spotted him again!  This time, walking towards us along the side of the road.  More leopard than we ever imagined it would be possible to see!

We also enjoyed a family of warthogs (mother and 3 juveniles), some eagles, and a black headed oriole (resembles Baltimore oriole, but very yellow body)


~ by Rob Page III on August 6, 2010.

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