The beginning of March is the beginning of the fishing season – however, this didnt seem to be limited to just humans enjoying throwing a line in the water to see what they could pull up for dinner: the first ‘legal day for fishing saw a crocodile munching on a fish, and, in the same area, a serval cat, having dexterously grabbed another catfish out of the water with his paws.
Lions were seen almost every day in March, mostly doing what lions like to do for most of the day/night: sleep! Two adults and one youngster did manage to stay awake long enough to kill a tsessebe however, and all the lions look healthy, so they all must be hunting whilst our backs are turned! At night, as the temperature cools down, its worth waiting around to see if they will call – the beautiful deep roars resonate through the night. Solo pride (seven individuals) came into their own later in the month, and spent a long time stalking a group of giraffe. After much effort, however, they came away empty-handed.
This month we were lucky enough to see a pack of 12 wild dogs a couple of times – on one occasion they went hunting and killed a young kudu, and an impala at the same time, ensuring enough food for the whole pack. Three cheetahs also managed to kill a young kudu calf, and were seen feeding on that. When the cheetahs left the carcass, six hyenas quickly moved in to enjoy the remains. A solitary cheetah also managed to kill a reedback close to the airstrip.
General game has been excellent, and there was a special sighting of a sitatunga in a marsh area. Normally this shy semi-aquatic antelope is only seen from the boat!
The three cheetah brothers were seen at Lebala a few times early in the month, and caught a baby zebra, before moving north.
At the end of the month, 11 wild dogs were seen (aptly along Wild Dog Road) chasing impala. They had no luck catching any impala, but they did bump into an African Wild Cat – a cat that is the same size as a domestic house-cat. Like most cat-dog relationships, the African Wild Cat still appeared to be the boss, stood his ground, and the dogs gave up and left. They had better success on later days, and caught and killed several impalas. After one of these kills, two hyenas appeared, and attempted to steal the kill off the dogs. The dogs turned on the hyenas, and several launched themselves on to the back of one of the hyena – both turned and fled, without major injury.
On an early morning in the middle of the month, a lion was heard calling close to Lebala camp. Rushing through breakfast, the guests headed out with the guides following the calls. The large pride male, regular to the area, was found not far away, and very relaxed. He is not in good condition however, and lost his brother in a fight with pride that has a territory further to the east.
Elephants still abound everywhere – large breeding herds, sometimes up to 100 individuals – are seen on most game drives. They are also seen regularly in front of camp, and can be heard during the night moving through the water, shuffling hippos out of the way.