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The first rains have fallen here at Ulusaba and already just after a few days, we can see the transformation in the bush. There are new leaf buds on the trees as well as a fresh carpet of green grass on areas that were previously barren. The river has broadened slightly yet is still easily crossable and many afternoons have been spent along its banks seeking out the various animals that come down to drink.
Several large herds of elephants have been sighted including some very small babies. A herd had crossed the sand river at Kirri crossing and we found them close to dam 3. Everything was relaxed until a leopard wove her way between the herd in the thick bush! It was the shy dam 3 female and she gave one bull quite fright. Needless to say, they didn't appreciate her presence and chased her back down to the river.
virginlimitededition.com/ulusaba/ulusaba-update-rains-in-africa/attachment/ulusaba-3-2One morning we found a small group with a mother and her small calf as well as a young female and an older bull. The mother was very relaxed and grazed a short distance away, the calf however was not at all amused and let us know. He proceeded to give several mock charges from different directions in a bid to chase us away. Despite all his effort, all he got in return was laughter from us and a disapproving look from his mother!
The coalition of Selati male lions were seen trailing the large herd of buffalos in the south so we started searching for them one morning. As we approached the drainage line feeding Skwenga dam, 3 hyenas came running down the road towards us with tails in the air.
They were very alert and agitated. We followed them as they walked over some large boulders and pasted grass around leadwood dam. After we left them, we saw fresh tracks of buffalos moving north. Kaizer saw that they had been running and we decided to back track to see what had happened. It wan't long before we found two of the male lions lying next to the road with full bellies. One of them got up to eat some grass to ease his indigestion before flopping down in the aptly named "lion grass". We left them to their slumber and saw another male sitting up in the distance. As we approached, we saw the kill. They had managed to successfully hunt a large male buffalo and they had eater half of it during the night!
The hyenas that we had sighted earlier may have herd the lions feeding and gotten too close. No wonder they were running! The lions finished the kill in a couple of days and over the next few days we enjoyed sightings of vultures, marabou storks and hyenas scavenging the carcass. One morning as a group of hyenas were busy with the bones, one of the lions returned to chase them away. It was only after several minutes that one of them retuned and by that time, the vultures had descended for their share. She moved in amidst the squabbling of the birds to get her share, every now and again rushing them in an attempt to get a fresh kill.
It was an amazing cycle of nature that several of our guests got to experience.
Phillip Andrew and the Ulusaba Ranger and Tracker team
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