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Last full day & we all have our wish lists

Left in 1 degree temperatures to do the early morning safari all with our wish list:

Leigh wants to see an lion kill Mark wants to see a leopard drag an impala up a tree Brad wants to see more elephant action I want to see hippo out of the water & a leopard in a tree

We got back at 9.15am & laughed when we sat at breakfast & commented on what a quiet morning it had been & then realised we had seen: Baboon Rhino Zebra Giraffe Impala Jackal Grey Duiker

Brad & Mark went out for the walk with the tracker Ramsin who has done this for 25 years & followed a bull elephant & got within 30 metres of it.

Last afternoon safari & it was action packed right from the start!!!

Five minutes up the road we stop for Sean & Ramsin to track some lions &they literally ran into them. The big female growled at them & they made a hasty retreat back to the car.

We corned this pride so we could watch them. Very cool... it was a new pride not seen in the park before. A male, 3 females & 8 cubs which are 3 months old. The mamma was not happy with us being there but when the male decided it was OK she relaxed. The cubs were adorable & chasing each other. Unfortunately even though we were close ( 30 metres away) it was hard to see them as they were in scrub. The male was shadowing one of the females & every now & then she would growl at him. We soon found out why as he jumped on her & it was on..... and then over very quickly!!!! The male mates with a female every 10 minutes for 10 seconds for 3 days!!!! She did a big scream roar & he did a big growl roar. Can't believe we got to witness this as well as seeing our first mufasa daddy lion. He was huge & looked very powerful & is estimated to be 5 years old.

We watched for ages & then headed off. Saw giraffes really close up - the closest we had got to any. Stunning animals! Then we drove into the middle of a herd of water buffaloes & there would have been at least a couple of hundred of them.

More excitement as we heard a roar close by & we were close to sunset. Up over the hill we raced doing some bush bashing to find a lone male walking by himself. He is the dominant male of the pride of 16 we had seen a couple of days ago & he had been missing. He is 13 years old & looked a little worse for wear with cuts on him.

We discovered he had been in a fight with another lion, had broken into a private residence fence & couldn't get out. They called someone to sedate him with a dart & had him removed from the property

We followed him for ages & every 10 minutes he would stop & roar. Impressive big bass sound & the sound travels for 8km. Sean said he would hear his prides reply & was trying to find them & get some dinner as he was hungry. The females do the hunting & fed the males!!!

At one stage there was 3 vehicles around him in a semi circle & he was totally disinterested in us as we had a big spotlight shining on him & just kept walking.

Sun was down now & it was beautiful sunset over the nearby mountains. We stpped by a waterhole & straight away thought we saw something in the water. It was hippo ears & eyes!!! We hopped out of the car to have our evening snacks & drinks & this hippo put on the biggest show for us to try & intimidate us. For a good 10 - 15 minutes he somehow threw himself out of the water like a breaching whale, opened his mouth wide at us, thrashing his head & did big butterfly type strokes/bomb dives threw the water causing waves in the waterhole. It was hilarious & went on & on.

We were standing around the landcruiser having our drinks & nibbles keeping the big spotlight on him, when we noticed more eyes gleaming at us... yep... crocodiles!!!! Leigh refused to get out of the car saying she had seen national geographic & had seen what hippos can do to people ( they kill more people than lions!!!). I had hopped back in the back of the cruiser & in the dark had been listening to the hippo splash around.

The newly arrived excited Italians that were sharing our car were now using the spotlight on themselves to take photos & not watching the hippo.

I noticed that the splashing had stopped & was looking behind us into the darkness when I noticed 50 metres away a large black shape in the darkness. I called for the spotlight & yep it was our not friendly hippo now out of the water & way too close to us!! One of the Italians ran towards him to get photos & was grabbed by our ranger & made to stay buy the car.

Fortunately for us he had decided he didn't want to kill any of us& had meandered down the other embankment to continue grazing in the grass there!!!

A great end to our last night safari - saw Mufasa daddy lion roaring & having sex, saw cute baby cubs & saw my hippo out of the water!!!!

Back to the lodge for superb food again - lamb shanks & sticky date pudding.. Walking back to our room with the tracker is always an adrenalin experience as you wonder what animals you might see or mightn't see but are watching you!!!! Tonight was just some cute water buck & no baddies!!!

Followed up by bath in the darkness to watch the stars & then bed!!! When we turn the lights out it is pitch black & you can't even see your hand in front of your face

Giraffes

Giraffes


Have such a funny ungainly run

Have such a funny ungainly run


Looking right a us

Looking right a us


Rhino tank

Rhino tank


2 of them

2 of them


Built - all 2 tonne of him

Built - all 2 tonne of him


Checking us out

Checking us out


Leigh & I

Leigh & I


Brad & I wrapped up - it as freezing!!

Brad & I wrapped up - it as freezing!!


Impala

Impala


Big Mufasa lion

Big Mufasa lion


Giraffe with darker markings

Giraffe with darker markings


Beautiful giraffes

Beautiful giraffes


Brad & sunset

Brad & sunset


Last sunset

Last sunset


Sunset

Sunset


Rays over Brad's hat

Rays over Brad's hat


Driving through herd of Water Buffalo

Driving through herd of Water Buffalo


Roaring & looking for his family

Roaring & looking for his family


Unperterbed by us

Unperterbed by us


On his mission

On his mission


Close by the car

Close by the car


and on....

and on....


Caught in the spotlight

Caught in the spotlight


Surrounded by 3 cars

Surrounded by 3 cars


Big Male Lion

Big Male Lion


Pride of 3 Females & 8 cubs

Pride of 3 Females & 8 cubs


Giraffes again

Giraffes again


The battle weary lion on his way home

The battle weary lion on his way home


Looking for his family

Looking for his family

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in South Africa

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