It’s Monday 26th September 2005 and the Aardvarks

Well things are really hotting up here in the bush – not only from a temperature point of view but also from a game viewing point of view.

Yonna, one of our guides at Nkwali, had an amazing week this week with two aardvark sightings within five days – not to mention the rest of the great stuff seen whilst they were out there.

Here is an account of his drives from Yonna:

“I went out on an afternoon drive with 4 guests who had never been to Africa before – all had a ‘ shopping list ‘ including the elusive leopard. big male leopard relaxing on a branchWithin minutes we had found a big male leopard relaxing on a branch. We watched him for 30 minutes whilst he came down the tree and then went back up to his branch. About 100 metres on we found a big male lion relaxing and then a very big herd of buffalo crossing the road in front of us. We thought that we had seen a great deal so decided to have sundowners and then head back to camp. On our way to our sundowner spot we came across another leopard thanks to the alarm calls of some kudu.”

“After drinks we headed home and came across an aardvark in the road just after crossing the pontoon – my first ever aardvark sighting. It was the last thing we all expected to see after all the other wonderful animals we had already seen.”

“Five days later I was fortunate enough to see another aardvark about 100 metres from camp!! I never expected to see two aardvarks in five days!!!”

I have just returned from my last mobile of the season – sad but what a way to end my walks for the year. We had the most fantastic viewing both big and small – from dragonflies to buffalo and Cookson’s wildebeest to oribi.

dragonflyCookson’s wildebeest

Not for the first time this season did lions dominate the safari with some of the most memorable calling I have ever witnessed. On our second morning we were woken to the sounds of lions calling from all directions – fantastic but which direction do I chose to walk in to find one of them!! It was soon solved when a big male crossed the plain in front of camp 2, as we were finishing off our breakfast. Galvanized into action we took off after him hoping to cut him off and get a good view further down stream. Throughout the morning we managed to see this fantastic male without him seeing us – at one point we were no more than 50 metres from him whilst he scent marked a bush and then roared – what an adrenalin rush. He was just too busy being king of the beasts to notice us!!! We left the lion, which had now collapsed under a bush, exhausted after a morning of roaring, and decided to come back and see what he was up to in the evening.

Well, we were in for a real treat!! From camp we could hear him calling throughout the heat of the day – very unusual behaviour for a lion – so we took off in search of him. We found the lion in the same place as we had left him – still roaring and he still hadn’t seen us. We stood across the river from him, up on a high bank and just listened to him – a wonderful sound to stand and listen to a lion roaring whilst you are standing in the middle of the bush.

Approaching lion - 1Approaching lion - 2

I decided to order drinks from the camp and get the vehicle to come down and meet us as it was too much of an opportunity to miss – sundowners and a roaring lion. Just as I took the drinks orders the lion got up and started to walk off. Piella, our scout, decided to try and mimic a lion call and, much to Piella’s and our amazement, the lion turned around and came storming back to find this intruder!! He came down the bank and into the river and got to within 30 metres of us, nestled safely on our high river bank, before he saw us!! From hero to zero, king of the beasts to little pussy cat he took off back across the river stopping about 150 metres away, grumbling at us!! He finally settled down and carried on roaring whilst we sat and had our sundowners – an amazing day!!

Approaching lion - 3lion grumbling at us

As one of the guests said:  “A lion day throughout – from Bovril on toast in the morning to beer in the evening.”

a sounder of warthogsA final note – the little warthog babies are out and about now, having just been born in the last month. What a great sight to see a sounder of warthogs complete with 3 or 4 wartlets or wiglets – as they are affectionately known as here – trotting behind their mother.

That’s all from us.

Keep well,
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