Thursday, 23rd February 2012
I'd had such wonderful sightings at Duba Plains, I was sorry that Thursday morning's Game Drive would be the last at this Camp. Once again, I was the only customer for Spike's vehicle so the two of us set off just as it started to get light. The journey started with a number of bird sightings including an Openbilled Stork and a small flock of Sacred Ibis. Just before 7.00 a.m. we saw a single hippo still on land. Hippos forage on land during the night but spend all day in water since I gather they can easily suffer from sunstroke.
Spike located the buffalo herd and then the lioness with the young lions we'd seen the previous day. At twenty past seven in the morning, the lioness was still yawning and had not yet entered the hunting phase.
A nearby single kudu was completely ignored by the lions. We found the adult male who appeared similarly tired. There were two other parties from the Camp out in 4 x 4 and they met up with us to admire the lions.
The adult male made a token effort at mounting the lioness but, losing interest, he wandered off then lay down again watching one of the cubs which was rolling on its back. After nuzzling the female, the adult lion stood over the lioness a second time but, again, seemed to find it all too much trouble so they both wandered off separately. Soon, the lions seemed to be relaxing again in the warm sun.
At around 9.00 a.m., there seemed to be some sense of activity in the buffalo herd and a small group of bulls were heading towards our area and the bush with the relaxing lions. The buffalo must have smelled the lions because they suddenly broke into a run - to my surprise, towards the bush with the lions. It appeared that the hunter had suddenly become the hunted. The lions we could see took off at a run away from the buffaloes and more lions we'd not been able to see came tumbling out of the bush. All told, there were about eight of them. The small group of buffaloes gave chase for about 200 yards and then, satisfield with the result, stopped.
This diversion had given the main herd just the opportunity it needed and, at a trot, the main herd moved to their chosen destination - a large area of plain with fresh grass. Quickly, the buffalo herd settled down again so we went to find the lions again.
We didn't see the adult male again but the lioness and six younger lions regrouped and started watching the buffalo herd again. The lioness decided to move across a marshy patch of land to a location which would give a better view of the herd. In single file, the lions set off along an animal track through the tall grass to the edge of the marshy ground.
After some hesitation, the lions crossed the water, each lion choosing its own path across the water. The lions then resumed either watching the re-located buffalo herd or just relaxing in the long grass. It was an amazing experience!
It was time to return to Camp. We saw a herd of at least 18 elephants in the distance, passed the still-intact buffalo herd and made various other sightings on the journey back.
All my pictures of this Game Drive are here.
I was very sad to leave Duba Plains and all my new friends. After warm goodbyes, Spike drove me back to the airstrip and the vivacious masseuse came along for the ride. One of the larger Cessna aircraft was already at the airstrip, delivering weekly supplies I believe. It took off trailing a cloud of dust. A few minutes later, a smaller Cessna 206 (registration A2-AIV) landed to pick up me and my modest luggage. There was one passenger already aboard - a Wilderness Safaris' member of staff being transported to Savuti - so I clambered in the back for the 40-minute flight to Chobe Airstrip.
My pictures at Duba Plains Airstrip and on my flight to Chobe Airstrip are here.