The night drives from Satara are 2 hour drives that set off at 8pm. By this time in September that is in total darkness. We had some really good sightings of Genet, Jackals and Porcupines, but getting a picture on these drives are so difficult.
We got pictures of this Genet and of this rather playful White Tailed Mongoose.
Stretching and yawning like a cat
The drive took us up the H1-5 we took a left onto the S127, made a U turn after about 10 minutes on this road then headed back turning left onto the S90, then right onto what I assume is the road that goes past the air strip.
Its on this road that we came across a scene that can only be described as surreal. It was like truly being in a movie, in one of those wildlife documentaries.
It started with us seeing this male lion drinking water next to the road. He was in perfect condition. We sat watching him drinking for a few minutes when someone panned the spot to the left. Unbeknownst to all of us, the was a massive Elephant right next to the truck on the other side of us. Invisible in the darkness and it did not make a sound.
The lion, now finished drinking started walking along the road. We decided to drive a little further down the road. I first saw a large dark shape lying next to the road. Then I noticed about 4 jackals circling the shape. A Kill.
It was only when we were right on top of it that we notice the below.
The smell was overpowering but we just sat there watching this lion enjoy his meal. We sat there in that smell, that swarm of flies watching and listening to the sound of teeth grinding again bone. That sound not too different from someone scrapping fingernails across those old dust boards.
It truly became surreal when from behind us we heard this very distinct; ‘Wwhhhoooop!’ we moved the light to see what was behind us
We continued to watch the lion feast while 2 others slept, no doubt with full bellies.
They were joined by their compatriot whom we saw drinking a little earlier. As he walk past the large lion gave him a look that in human terms might have said “and where have you been young man?”
I started getting that feeling that we were being watched. And there were murmurs in the truck that all the spots were out one side of the vehicle. Anything could be behind us. We used one spot to see what was in the darkness. Right next to the truck, right behind our backs were the Hyenas. Not one anymore, not two, but seven, using the truck as cover.
We sat there for another half hour or so, waiting to see if the Hyenas would make a move. When we left, they were still just skulking around the kill, waiting for more numbers maybe. By this time, the jackals had totally disappeared.
We returned to camp. After one of the best night drives we have ever been on.
Mike went straight onto Facebook, and we sat at the table and chairs outside just thinking back over the last hour. Blicksem, lighting struck across the sky and the rain started to come down. After days of threatening and drizzling it finally started raining, lightning, thunder, buckets of water and all.