We tried but without success.
The lions were moving in the Makeche area, which is on the heavy black clay soils. These soils after all the rain we’ve had are just not passable. I even nearly got stuck on the road.
Also any off-road driving in these conditions would leave terrible scars in the veld.
So we had to leave the lions.
With all the rain of course come all the bugs and driving at night becomes a little nightmare as the bugs are attracted to our lights. And especially last night when clouds of flying ants came straight into our spotlights and then down our shirts! The only evidence of the millions of flying ants at dawn were the little piles of their wings where they congregated in certain ‘hot spots’.
All the pans were alive with frogs and toads and much noise. But as usual whenever we put light on these amphibians they either move off or go quiet. Except for some of these toads I filmed. After that I just couldn’t get ‘Arthur’ out of my mind! I definitely wasn’t going to rest near one of those pans. Instead we packed it in and headed back to camp.
I was out at dawn to witness another awesome African sunrise.
Then it was on to the trail of the impala herds. I spent until around 10am with a large herd with many ‘popping soon’ mommies. It could be any day now that they give birth. I’ll just keep at it and hope to get lucky.
All over Banyini the herds of plains game were around grazing.
And amazingly I saw a group of 8 jackals moving together in what looked like a pack. But being jackals and constantly on the move I wasn’t able to make out if it was one or two families. It looked like 3 adults and 5 pups. The pups would now be about 3 months old. The pack were just trotting around foraging for insects.
27th November 2000
Amazingly they were still at it all night. Having picked up Tjololo and the Newington female at sunset they slowly headed east mating at a serious tempo. Not far off every 5 minutes, and at times Tjololo not even dismounting to get down to it again.
About half way across his territory Tjololo was very much into hunting mode. His first attempt was very close as the impala leapt high in the air and Tjololo only just managed to tap it’s back leg but it got away. Hopefully I got the whole shot and there was enough light, but the 2 animals jumping was dramatic in itself.
His next attempt was another close miss, but hopefully also on film. Just as we thought he’d missed and the impala thought they were safe Tjololo rushed in and caught an adult male impala. While strangling it the female joined him and started feeding. Both leopards fed a while before a hyaena chased them off. It was later joined by another 5 hyaenas and they soon consumed the carcass. With the commotion of the hyaenas laughing Shololtoo arrived in the area hoping to pick up scraps but without any joy and moved off. Again Tjololo paid him little attention.
Tjololo spent the rest of the night in the area mating. At dawn they slowly moved north. He seemed to be looking for something. He kept looking into trees. Then we smelt it and heard a leopard puffing in a tree. Shololtoo had a baboon kill in a tree. Tjololo rushed into the tree and fed as Shololtoo gave way for him and soon left the tree when the Newington female climbed in after Tjololo.
Only once Tjololo had fed and left the tree did Shololtoo return to feed on the carcass.