Our first night by the Hippo pool was much more interesting on the noises front. Natural the Hippos had been grunting but we’d also heard Elephants over night and Lions, too. The Elephant noises could’ve been the adults protecting young from the predators. Most interesting though, early in the morning, had been an eerie noise that sounded more like birds than anything but which turned out to be a chorus of hyenas. At night hey make a sort of long, drawn out “whoop”.
We set off at 07:00 in search of last night’s Leopard’s carcass. We found no sign and Bibi wondered if the Hyenas had had it, which would’ve been a shame given all the hard work invested by the Leopard. We did, however, come across a Leopard and cub mooching along together. As usual, other vehicles arrived and the Leopards seemed to go to ground for some peace and quiet, so we left them to it.
We’d had a few glimpses of Vervet Monkeys during our travels and at last we had one who adopted an appealing pose close enough to capture. Vervets are interesting in that the males have a splendidly ostentatious bright blue scrotum. Well, it would be the males, wouldn’t it? We got a glimpse of that, too, but only the left ball. 😆
We were informed of another family of Lions and went to find those. They were in a fairly awkward-to-access location involving some boggy ground and a tree. It was late morning and the Lions were lethargic so not a great photo opportunity. One of the cubs was quite cute, though. As we were leaving, a convoy of 10 jeeps was also looking for them so Bibi pointed them in the right direction but we didn’t give much for the chances of that many vehicles in those conditions.
Several of us had been quite taken with the pioneering pole bridge so, on the way back to camp for lunch, Bibi stopped and let us walk across it. Lunch included some freshly baked home made bread which was made in a Dutch oven with charcoal embers from the camp fire beneath and on top. Very clever and quite a trick in camp.
The later part of our evening game drive got quite exciting.
It was after 18:00 when we came across some wandering Spotted Hyenas. Light was fading and Francine’s camera does a lot better than mine in such a situation. Or maybe Francine does a lot better than me. 😉 If the Leopard of yesterday had lost its Impala kill, these were quite nearby and could’ve been responsible.
Soon afterwards some of those in the truck got a fleeting glimpse of what someone thought was a Serval. Francine to the rescue once again. However, Servals are very elegant and spotted so this ain’t a Serval. It’s also too small. This, I THINK, is a Southern African Wildcat (Felis lybica cafra). It’s that subspecies or just a straightforward African Wildcat (Felis lybica).
Our final heart-pumping encounter was again with cats; big ones. Six big ones to be precise. We came across a group of male lions resplendent with manes. Not to put too fine a point on it, they pretty much chose to surround the rear of our open-sided truck. I peered slowly over my right shoulder and my gaze was met by the piercing eyes of Leo. It was at most 3m away and could easily have reached up into the truck. It was a sobering moment. Francine (again) managed to snag one of the others approaching the other side. ‘T was getting dark so the ISO was up as high as our heartrates and things are a bit grainy.
Bibi moved off,wisely we thought, and the Lions sauntered past us. They appeared to be interested in the Hyenas.
Just having got back to camp at 19:00, a large bull Elephant wandered along the road just between our camp and the Hippo pool. That’s quite enough excitement for one day.
Dinner was beef stew and macaroni with little gem squash dressed with sweetcorn puree. Oh yes, custard with apple. I needed a sugar rush.
Tomorrow morning was the last we’d be seeing of Rasta and Ona so it fell to me to thank them for their fine efforts and give them the customary tip. Our main man Bibi got his as well, of course.