We were out the door at 5:36AM, had a quick cup of tea and jumped in the jeep for our morning drive…today we have a private drive, no one else joined us! We were driving around for a bit before we were radioed from the other jeep ranger (who also worked at the Impodimo Lodge) who said he spotted a lion going deep into the bush.
We drove over and met them, went off the road and into the trees but the lion they had seen walked too far into the bush…it was too thick to get the jeeps in and they weren’t even sure exactly where the lion went, so the rangers left us in our jeep and the other group in their jeep and they all jumped out on foot with their guns, disappearing behind the trees/bushes. We were sitting out in the reserve by ourselves…ummmm what if something were to try and eat us out there? Somewhere close by we heard growling…we think it was an elephant (yes they growl).
About 15 minutes later, the rangers came back and said they knew where the lions were…they started the jeeps back up and slowly moved into the thick bushes warning us to be careful as the thorns scraped the side of the car. As we got closer…we heard bones crackling…it was a different pride and had some baby lions feeding on a baby kudu which was just about gone as we arrived.
After watching them devour what was left of the bones, we drove back out and immediately saw a giraffe…even though we’ve now seen a few of them, it is still exciting to see them roaming around by themselves munching on trees. We also saw a female wildebeest, and by the way…the wildebeest is in the top three fastest animals in the world!
As we continued to drive…our ranger heard on the radio from another jeep that they spotted a leopard! We of course drove straight over to where they were, and when we pulled up saw two jeeps from other lodges sitting on the side of the road staring into the bush. They saw her go in but no longer had a visual… Our ranger drove right past the other two and continued into the thick bushes…trying to be quiet but looking for any signs of her. Then we saw it…again she was so beautiful with her spotted coat walking as her strong muscles moves gracefully with her. She was hunting something in the tall grass. We got some great video and a perfect picture of her as she turned her head to look at us.
So far this drive has been action packed and we were so excited to have gotten to see a leopard for a second time. After watching her for a bit, we drove out of that area in order to let other people get a glimpse. As we drove around looking for our next sighting, we saw another giraffe with the background of the tall mountain behind him…it was picture-perfect. We also got to see 4 more black rhino including a baby chewing on grass…in fact, when any of the other rhinos got too close to the baby, they let them know with their huffing and puffing!
We stopped for our morning coffee in the middle of the reserve with our two rangers and noshed on some muffins. After our coffee break, we ended our morning drive with another pride of lions feasting on their meal. We recognized the pride…it was the lioness with her two baby cubs and the young male lion who is surely hiding from the alpha male so as not to get kicked out of the group quite yet. We got great video and pictures especially of the male lion as he sat resting. The baby cubs eating by their mother’s side with blood all over their mouthes was crazy to be watching so close! It was kind of cool how we are starting to recognize the different lion prides in the area.
After the lions, we drove back to the lodge and enjoyed our brunch pool-side.