Okay…so BB has revealed the action at the end of the day. He finally got to see his honey badger, and once again I had to traipse around camp in my PJ’s!
He (the HB) had tipped over our bin and left a nice mess for us to clean up! 1 Oct. - Orpen to Lower Sabie – Part 1
As it was the 1st, the gates were opening at 5.30, so up at 4.45 to pack everything up for our move to LS. We said goodbye to Orpen and were on our way. We saw jackal in the same place as the day before – so still too far for any pics, and also found the two hyenas in the same place again. They obviously have a den under the road. One was getting down and dirty with a rack of ribs!
Our route to LS was via Talamati on the S140, S145 then the S36, the S34, and then finally on to the H10. It was the bumpiest ride I have ever had…a real bone rattler!!! At one point we thought the whole dashboard was going to fall off or that the airbags would be deployed!
But despite that, we could not have chosen a better route! I found two new birds – a Red-headed weaver and a Whitecrested Helmet Shrike, and Johanna was on top form, firstly seeing a Redcrested Korhaan, and then spotting a lone sable in the distance!!! Our first for many years. I took a pic but it was very far away – I think BB got a better one than I did, so I’ll let him show it to you.
We saw lots of game along the S140 – kudu, impala, wildebeest, zebra – but the rattling was starting to grate on everyone’s nerves.
As we approached Fairfield waterhole there was one other car and we immediately spotted another sable and a herd of kudu. As we were getting ready to take pics of the sable my dad shouted “LION CUB”!!!
One cub was drinking, and then another one appeared! Where there are cubs there must be a mommy, so sadly, the sable was forgotten for the moment.
Then suddenly there was chaos. The kudu and sable took off, ran across the road, and the next thing a lioness appeared and was on the chase, then another one, and then a third!!! The kudu and sable soon disappeared into the bush with the three lionesses in hot pursuit.
We were all in shock as my dad reversed, trying to find them in the thick bush. The two cubs now crossed the road, obviously going to see what was for breakfast. We thought we had seen the last of them, when one of us spotted a lioness walking back towards the waterhole. We drove forward and stopped in front of the waterhole waiting to see what happened. There were now two lionesses, and not two cubs, but four!! They slowly regrouped and all crossed the road back to the waterhole. Obviously the hunt had failed.
You must excuse the blurred pictures, but I was shaking so much, I eventually had to put my camera down, take a couple of deep breaths and have a couple of large slugs of coke!!
Only when going through the photos at home, did I notice that this lioness had one blue eye – I wonder if she was blind in that eye?
“Not very good at this hunting thing are they! Now what are we supposed to eat?”
Two of the lionesses and all the cubs went to drink, while the third one lay down in front of some long grass on the other side of the waterhole. She was still in hunt mode, and we noticed a family of warthogs approaching. She made a half-hearted attempt but the warthogs made a hasty exit.
The lionesses were still very alert, and obviously very hungry. We settled down to wait – there was sure to be a kill here today! We were now the only car there – who says Kruger is like a zoo?
Another warthog approached the waterhole, as the lionesses watched him. It amazed us that the warthog could see them but still cautiously moved forward. But then, common sense prevailed, and he turned tail and ran.
Eventually they had all had enough to drink and moved off to the shade of some trees quite far from the waterhole. We were quite prepared to wait with them to see if any game came to drink, but the cubs soon grew bored and it wasn’t long before they moved off into the bush! But what a fantastic sighting, and a hard-earned reward after having to put up with such a terrible road!!
Not long after that someone waved us down to tell us of something up ahead……