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Safari - Day 3

Lions, lions everywhere!

rain 60 °F
View Africa Trip 2010 on pmonahan's travel map.

Yesterday, Monday, the weather was a bit rainy, but it was still great. We started our day by checking out a herd of 300+ buffalo drinking at the river. Lucky, our ranger, parked our jeep right in the middle of them, and it was amazing to watch them maneuver down the slope to the river. There was lots of jostling for position and some of the younger males were locking horns to establish their positions in the herd. The buffalo will sometimes moo like cows at home and the herd smells like a typical barnyard.

After leaving the buffalo, we started tracking a female leopard and her cubs after Lucky found their tracks in the dirt road. After about 10 minutes of searching, we found the spot where she had taken her cubs to eat the animal that she had caught the night before. It was unbelievable to watch the two small leopard cubs race about and play fight with the mother like common kittens at home. At one point, we were not more than 25 ft away and the mother did not seem concerned at all. According to one of the rangers, the mother leopard was born in the area, and therefore, is familiar with the jeeps and does not see them as a threat. The leopards are incredibly beautiful.

We then heard that another jeep had found a male cheetah, so we left the leopards to go see that. On the way, we picked up a family of newly arrived Australians, who have spent the last couple of days in the same jeep with us. When we finally found it out by the airstrip, Wil happened to notice that the jeep next to us was people that we had not seen before. After further inspection, we discovered that it was Kobe Bryant from the LA Lakers! Wil was very excited and wanted to find a way to get his autograph. Unfortunately, he is staying in another part of the property and does not eat or socialize with any of the other guests.

The coolest thing that we saw yesterday was a pride of 12 lions who went down to the river to drink. It was amazing to see them all lined up on the edge of the water. Just as the first group started to go back to the area where they were sleeping, the big male lion started roaring and the others joined in. We were initially a bit frightened, but Lucky told us that it is one of the ways that the male lion declares its territory. It was unbelievable to hear that roar so close to us!

On the way back to the camp for dinner, we managed to see yet another pride of 5 lions sleeping after a big meal and couple of hyena! It is outrageous how much game is around this place at all times!

Posted by pmonahan 10:47 Archived in South Africa Tagged family_travel

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