Although it was another early morning and the alarms keep getting harder and harder to motivate us, we were so happy to spend another day hiking around the bush. We went to bed to the sounds of hyenas cackling and whooping near our camp last night, and a few of us even stayed outside for awhile looking at the stars. Not only was the sky completely lit up and riddled with constellations we can’t see in the northern hemisphere, but we could also see the entire Milky Way! There was a blue/green glow to it as it laced it’s way across the sky. It was out of this world, literally!! It allowed us to go to bed completely enthralled with our experience here and ready for more action today.
We had our normal routine of breakfast and then took off at 6:30. We watched the sunrise again (it really never gets old) and started tracking our animals. We began with some rhinos we had seen run across the road the other day. Sure enough, we found them in no time as they were just grazing on the side of a hill that was lit up by the sun. We hiked up there and had to be extremely quiet as we didn’t want to disturb them. They’re such massive and incredible creatures. To me, they kind of look like dinosaurs. It was amazing standing there about 15 feet away perfectly still without them seeing us. They have terrible eyesight but impeccable hearing. Since we were standing so silently, they came very close to us. What a great way to start the day! Again, no pictures because we had to be absolutely silent I’m sorry!
We found a cluster of jackal raven birds on our way out of the area that were feeding on some pretty odd looking winged termites. We learned quite a bit about them, and it was crazy to watch them all swoop in to catch the bugs in their beaks or feet. They were having a shmorgisbourg!
They burn some areas of the reserve on a regular basis because it gets rid of the dead grass that isn’t growing or being eaten by the animals. This burning also helps with releasing more sugars and nutrients into the plants for the animals.
After that, we wanted to check in on that carcass we found on Monday from the leopard to see what has become of it. As we thought, hyenas got ahold of it and scattered the remaining pieces all about the area. Our scull was still there hanging from a tree, so we took it as a souvenir. Can you imagine one of us trying to take that through customs?? We found and saw so many things along the way!
We then found some lion tracks and decided to follow them. Man, that took us the rest of the day and we still couldn’t find him! His tracks were up and down and all around, all over the place! There are two prides of lions here one in the north and one in the south. He splits his time between the two, so we believe he was meeting up with one or both of the prides and then just wandering about. However, we didn’t want to run into the pride of female lions because they have a tendency to be very territorial and volatile. We thought it best to leave them be. Instead, after tracking for so long with no luck, we walked our way back to the lodge and hopped in a vehicle. Peter took us up to the north pride to see if we could spot them from a car instead. The best part of the day was when we found them lying in the bush and napping. We observed them for a long time, and everyone was so excited to see them! There were a total of eight lionesses and year old cubs. We took so many pictures, it was crazy. It took me awhile to decide which ones to put on the blog, but I think I chose the best ones of the 50 I took.
Along our drive, we also ran into some buffalo, nyala and zebras. We even witnessed an incredible sunset on our way back. I’d say it was a very successful day. I think I speak for all of us in saying that it is such a unique experience being out here and exploring a completely different lifestyle. It’s refreshing to do something like this and get out of our comfort zone. I hope everyone can do this or something similar in their lives because it completely opens your eyes to so many new things.