I've been reading and getting great advice from the Forum for two years now and I think it's my turn to add something of interest.
My wife and I have just completed our third trip to South Africa and have enjoyed every moment but until our last trip all I could do was read about the unusual experiences of others.
We spent seven nights in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with the third night, Monday, November 17 at the Kalahari Tented Camp becoming something special. We had Desert Tent #5 and I believe I read that that tent had the worst view of the waterhole of all the others but as it turned out it was the "best seat in the house".
After retiring for the night, I was awakened twice by noises. The first time was after midnight probably between 2-3 AM. I got up, looked out but didn't see anything so I went back to sleep. Then I heard noise again and got up, looked at the clock and it was a little after 5 AM. My hearing isn't very good so to wake me up it must have been quite loud. Anyway, I went to the window and this time not more than 7 meters from me, running from left to right were these shadowy figures. It was a wildebeest with two hyenas, one at either side, nipping at it trying to bring it down.
This unfortunate beast was running for its life and losing the battle. It ran to Tent #6 and wound up trying to take refuge next to or under the raised floor of this tent. The banging noise against the floor portion of the tent was quite loud. At this point they were hidden from view but once every 30 seconds or so a hyena would run out and into view, scan the area, then run back to the wildebeest. It seems that each hyena was taking a turn attacking the wildebeest which was trying desperately to defend itself.
While this was going on I was taking pictures through the heavy mesh screen of my tent so the quality of the photos wasn't that good. Then I started to get brave and went into our enclosed car park, climbed atop
the garbage can and started taking pix from over the wall. The angle for viewing was even worse but the quality of the photos got better. All this I had to do because my wife refused to go to the scene for better photography (just kidding).
The rest of the story was pieced together from speaking to our neighbors--especially the nice couple that occupied #6. It turns out that they were wakened by the floor shaking so violently that their night stand fell over or the items that were on the night stand fell off (not sure which occurred). Imagine waking up to that. They thought that something was trying to break through the floor to devour them so they took refuge in the bathroom (which has a concrete floor). My observant wife said that she saw their vehicle drive away but couldn't figure out how they got out since the only exit was facing us and their door was never opened. It turns out they cut the mesh of the window in the bathroom and crawled out, got in their vehicle and went to get help. I estimate they lost a few years of their lives through this experience.
Come on--you've got to admit--there is humor here somewhere. If it happened to me, I'd still be running.
I give the Supervisor assigned to protecting us a lot of credit. He got there very quickly and knew exactly what had to be done--very professional.
Speaking to others, it seems everything started a few hours before near Tent #13 so this wildebeest was being hunted for all this time until exhausted, it lost its battle to survive.
It was now 6:30 AM and the drama was over so we decided to go for a belated game drive. We headed toward the Sitsas Waterhole when about a kilometer from it we came across a young male lion walking on the road heading for a drink. As we slowly approached he left the road and sat
down. Being an intelligent animal, he knew exactly when I was through taking photos of him. So he got up and proceeded to his goal--the waterhole. There were two other vehicles at Sitsas but they were busy watching a pride of seven lions in the distance relaxing under a tree to the right of the waterhole. My cooperative lion finally got to the water and proceeded to drink but at all times kept his eyes on the pride under
the tree. After about ten minutes one of the lionesses had enough and charged at the young male. As I said, this lion was smart so he did the right thing--he ran. She chased him across the road and only stopped when he disappeared over the hill. Then she went back to her group to continue working hard at relaxing.
We left the lions and went to Craig Lockhart Waterhole to check on the resident owls (Great Eagle Owls?). After a minute of watching I looked to the right and just a short distance away was a large male lion sitting under a small tree. The way things were going this morning, could it of been any different? He might have been part of the pride that was 8 kilometers away. No cooperation from this lion so I couldn't get a decent photo but who's complaining.
Now it was approaching 9 AM so we drove back to the Camp to check on the wildebeest. There was a vehicle from SANparks and one from the police at Tent #6. Four people were busy dragging the wildebeest away and down the hill. They obviously couldn't leave the animal under the tent where it was killed but placed it so the hyenas and other scavengers could continue to feed.
WOW, what a morning!
During our travels there were a few firsts for us:
--Bat eared foxes;
--Secretary bird in flight; and most importantly,
--A yellow ribbon which happened to be on a silver-grey vehicle. It was travelling on the road from the Nossob area toward Urikaruus on Wednesday, November 19 at 10:45 AM. Great sighting; and
--A paved road almost to the gate
Thanks for reading,
PS Kruger next September with our daughter and son-in-law. See you there.