Bored and Grumpy

First day with no guests and I am already bored and grumpy, tomorrow will be better. Kwihala pride was down here at lulenga juu, 1 km from camp.

Breathing time 30/08/10

Brought a couple of very nice italian guests to the airstrip, saw lioness on a long dead kudu, other lions in Mbagi on the way back. Now I have some days with no guests. Breathing time but also weird one.


No eyes

It was an incredible morning but I am so tired now. Thankfully Festo was in the car with me, of 5 cats sightings this morning he spotted 5 I spotted 0. The only thing I spotted was a bat inside a baobab. But let's go with order, kipunji males at breakfast point, both quite sleepy but at least one opened the eyes a couple of times and the light was fantastic, I would not have seen them, one point for Festo.

Then after few kilometers Festo spotted a leopard on tree, this time just a second before I did, I would have seen it but again one point for Festo. The leopard was stunning, on a sausage tree with the light of early morning shining all over while a collared palm trush wandered around. It was relaxed and allowed us to stay as long as we wished... The sun playing into his hazel eyes was special.

At the bridge a lioness walked up from the water disappearing into the combretum woodland, third point for Festo, I would have seen it but some seconds later.... this is when I started thinking I had left my eyes in camp, theory that came more convincing when Festo spotted three lions on the road before me, theory that was definitely confirmed when again he got the 5th point of the day spotting ten lions the other side of the ruaha river.... We got also other ten lions far far away in the hills but we were told by Owen, nontheless Festo 5, Pietro 0.... Anyway it was a great day but, man-o-man, better I don't forget my eyes again tomorrow.


How to climb down a tree

We followed the walk of a big blond male for a couple of km in the most perfect morning light ever, the background was kimilamatonge and was a stunning background. The male never roared, never marked the territory properly, gave the impression of being a king out of his kingdom.
He was a superb creature, lean and muscular, massive and elegant...

Owen found the pride of ten the other side of the river but definitely not i a hunting mood, we got also lions at the bridge on the mwagusi, they were very full. One impala ewe walked unaware less then three meters from a lioness without seeing her, when the herbivore was just in front of the cat, it even turned to check us out before going in the river bed, she never saw the lioness and the lioness did not even move.... unbelievable.
Other three lions were at breakfast point but sound asleep.
In the afternoon we were blessed with great hyena's show. The pups at the den were out and in a very playful mood, theyc came and went from the car, coming closer then 2 mtrs out of curiosity, the went on bitin branches and twigs, fighting betwen them and running around, really special. They are so cute and so weird in a way with their sloppy backs and spotted coates, but so full of energy.
We checked out the lions of the morning again and we found a lioness up on a tree, the first fork was at 4 meters and she was up there, we do not know why or how she got there but we witnessed how she came down. She tried for 20 minutes, turning in every possible way, every possible corner, she was pure fun, eventually after pondering for so long she came down, backwards in a huge clawed hug to the tree. Definitely her mother should have taught her what my mother did teach me when I was a kid, never climb something if you are not sure how to climb it down....



Today was way to hot, Festo went to fetch guests and in the way back saw a cheetah with a fresh kill chased off by a leopard... not fair nor for me nor for the cheetah.
Afternoon with three lioness and a great drive along Kimilamatonge.

Owen's rocks

We spent the night at Owen's, a bit of a roof wetting!!!
I night with friends out of camp, was exactly what I needed and that place really rocks.
Was not proper full moon but the moonlight still casted proper shadows.
We laughed, we drank, we enjoyed life till 3 in the morning.
A mattress and a blanket on a tall rock overlooking all the surrounding, silver light from the moon making every detail alive, my roof the milky way, leopards calling drifted me into sleeping.


Gregoire and Chloe

Mwayembe, a big male lion, the long shadows of the evening, a glass of cold beer, my french friend Gregoire that I did not see for long time and his girlfriend Chloe.... life can be much worst then this... was a special moment, they also told me they are going to be married.... WOW
The first time I saw them together in Timbavati was obvious they would have gone far. I am super happy for them.
In the bush you forge friendship much faster then you do in normal life... and Frenchie is the perfect example, we worked together for a short period of time, walking in Timbavati and Klaserie but that time was enough to built a strong and long lasting bond. He is great and has a great potential as a guide... sighting wie as good as usual, 4 times lions and a cheetah. Pink Jacarandas are in wasome blossom. Stunning Ruaha.



Ten, the day hunting pride, is spread on 20 mtrs of river bank, grass casting shadows on their golden bodies, impalas are not far at all. One lioness starts stalking, disappears into a ditch. We are the other side of an impala ram, waiting. The time passes slowly, the air is dense and the atmosphere tense. Then a stupid, super stupid young male pops the head up and the ram disappears as fast as a rocket.... The lioness emerges from the ditch no more then 5meters from were the impala was.... man, she was soooo close... stupid male.
To our surprise she does not stop but start trotting along the river bank followed by a second female and obviously by us. She is blatantly in the open and she does not care of all the impalas barking, the other one keeps peering in the river bed, she follows the leader and then deviate some ten meters to come back after some minutes.

They walk for more then one km and then the reach a thicker area, they slow down and disppear into the bush. We go around and wait, some minutes later we hear lions growling... they are eating... we found them soon, all ten with what remains of a impala ewe.
We watch them for a while and when we are ready to leave, Mapalala from his car spots a leopard way up on a tre over where the lions were feeding half an hou before. The spotteid cat soon climbs down and disappears but gives us a precise clue of what happened.
Forget the mighty hunting lions ,these guys today were nothing more then thieves.



Alessandra is leaving tomorrow, she stayed here three weeks, she came twice with me as a guest and wanted to help in a camp for free for a longer period of time. It was very good fun having her around and the guys simply loved her. Is not always easy to manage and guide, when the camp is busy is really hard but with her around I could concentrate much more on guiding because she was looking after the camp. It was really great having her here both personally and jobwise. She is a special person.
Morning with cheetahs and lions, the spotted cubs spoiled their mother's hunt as usual and as usual again the lions were sleeping.

We had small things as our treat, oxpeckers on zebras, dik diks and many other little sightings. In the afternoon we went out also with Ale and we found other sleeping lions but she was super happy because alone she spotted two Giant eagle owls in the canopy of a rain tree...and owls are her favourites.


Lions on the rocks

Kipunji pride at breakfast point, laying on the same exact rock where we often sit with guests. They are not all but only youngs enjoying the last rays of the sun, too lazy for us to stay long, but just few km later we were blessed with the hyena pups playing and suckling from their mother. They were so cute but already very aggressive one with the other.


Three hunts, zero kills

Was a good wildlife day, the mbagi (now called kwihala) pride was waiting for us at lulenga juu, no adults, only the cubs were around. They were full of energy, playing all over the place. Big cubs stalking big cubs, small cubs ambushing small cubs, small cubs teasing big cubs and big cubs retaliating on small cubs... was very good fun. They went on and on for at least one hour then they went for a nap and so we went off.

Now was Kipunji pride waiting for us at breakfast point, first we spotted 13 of them north side of the river, all quite sleepy except an aggressive female strangely growling at us then we crossed and found other 9 together with the big males. It was quite sighting the big boy walking towards the car, guests were nicely holding their breath.

The rocks of the old airstrip framed our breakfast, I find that fruits, cereals and muffins are even better if eaten with a stunning scenery around.... and I find a stunning scenery like the sweet hills and rocky outcrops even better if we can see a cheetah in the middle.
He was relxing under a baobab and then started walking along the drainage line, twice he tried impalas, beautiful run, beautiful show but twice he missed, zero kills.
We stayed with him one good hour and went back for lunch.

Afternoon with the same two prides of the morning and then the leopard cub of sokwe forest was spotted up on a branch. Light was stunning and the cat was soooo relaxed. Super!
Eventually when it was almost dark it climbed down and disappeared in the bush. After few minutes a banded moongose bolted out followed by the spotted hunter, the moongoose made it but just for a matter of centimeters.... so the total of today was 3 hunts 0 kills.... or actually zero skills.