Leopard for dinner 25/07/11

The day started at 3 am.. again the lions in camp, now I woke up with
Todi, the store keeper calling me and asking for help. The lions were
pulling the ropes of his tent.
I had nothing else to do then take my courage and walk out of the tent,
torch in one hand, pepper spray in the other. I started making noise
and shouting at the cats but man they were 12. They left Todi' s tent
and came to investigate. Three of them arrived 6 metres from me, I
shouted at them again and 2 of them veered off. They and the others went
laying 20 metres from my tent but one lioness was still curious and came
closer so I switch on the torch so she could see me and made noise
again before retreating to my tent. She retreated the opposite way and
all was fine.
The day was fun, me and Festo with super nice guests, a couple of
honeymooners and an american girl, we had plenty of ellies. Big bulls
and small calves made our morning.
The afternoon was fine I brought the american girl to mdonya and came
back to have dinner with the honeymooners.
The surprise had yet to come.
While we were served the starters we herd commotion amongst the tent
attendants, they told me that there were lions in front of tent number
6, so I went to investigate. Maaaaan,it was not a lion but a wonderful
young leopard. I sent Richard, the head tent attendant back to fetch
the guests and Festo while I stayed with the cat. The spotted one was
sitting in the grass 7 metres from me, unphazed.
As everybody arrived we enjoyed the leopard in the beam of my torch
walking in the combretum and then going back on the path behind us. We
slowly followed as he walked and stopped to watch some alarmed jackals
and then proceeded almost all the way to the table before disappearing
in the bush towards my tent.
Man, man, man!!!  It was fantastic, moving without a single noise, its
coat shining in the night, its eyes gazing in our direction every now
and then, a flow of emotions. We all felt blessed by what we were
living in that magic moment.
It was amazing, we stayed and then walked with it at close quarters,
we admired it for no less then a quarter of an hour. Pure awsomeness

Another lazy cheetah 24/07/11

We left my friend Akil, the operation manager of the company at the
airstrip, collected one guest and came back for lunch not before
having spotted lions at w7.
In the afternoon I had another tip bout a cheetah in little serengeti
so we went and we found a lazy female sleeping on the pebbles on the
way to Lunda. At least she stood up and moved 200 metres... nice.
On the way back the light was stunning and the landscape heart
breaking... and we also spotted lesser kudus

About lions and hammocks 23/07/11

Something is making a weird noise out of my tent, I don't care, it is
three in the night. I can hear something jumping and wrestling, I
still do not want to care, I want to sleep. But I am also very curious
and in the end I get up. Lions are everywhere around my tent, I see
some of them playing in front of the tent in the moonlight. Beautiful
but still it does not explain the noise I heard. I look right and I
see a lioness launching herself on something. Man-O-Man... it is my
beloved hammock. Now I tolerate everything but they should not touch
my hammock.
So what's the plan now..... shooting with the .458 is a bit too much,
leaving the hammock to its destiny not an option so I went for plan C.
Took a bucket of water, walked out of the tent and threw the water on
the lions, they jumped back but one came again for the hammock so I
had to throw the bucket itself. That worked because the lion took it
and walked away.
I was satisfied now, but there started the probems of Festo, lions
went to his tent and started pulling the ropes holding it up , they
were even leaning on the side of the tent so my friend had to give a
couple of punches through the canvas but eventually they left.
Fiuuuuu.... back to sleep.
We woke up in the morning to find that the nasty cats cut 5 of the
ropes holding up the shade net of the lounge, crazy beasts.
The game drive still with Stefano and his family was great. Lionesses
walking in the early light all the open plains at the old airstrip, we
basically walked with them almost down to the river.
Then Owen called me saying that he had four males on the west side of
the same area so I went to see and to my surprise we admired the fab
four again after loong time.
The 4 cats moved all the way towards kimilamatonge before disappearing
into the thick combretum. Welcome back boys!
Good buffs with lions close by at w7 in the evening.

Doc Stefano 22/07/11

When I was sick, early June, an Italian doctor that was in that
hospital for a meeting, really looked after me and we became friends,
today he is in camp with his wonderful family and I am very happy.
They arrived yesterday and we saw mdonya juu pride eating an impala
before coming to camp, I was proud to give something back after the
help I received.
We also managed to see a beautiful cheetah today in little serengeti,
it was a bit of a drive in the afternoon but at least we saw it. The
light was stunning and the cheetah sleepy. It was lean but also too
lazy to really do much. It only took interest in some kudu's calf but
after seeing all the adult around the little ones, the cat decided to
lay down again.
The mother of a friend of mine died today, I am grieving with him in
my heart and my thoughts are for them.

The sleep of the just 17/07/11

Long time watching a breeding herd softly moving around a small small

calf sleeping on the ground. The sweet little thing, not farther then
three meters from us, was oblivious of the world... and the way the
herd was carefully feeding and walking around without waking him up
was touching. Great


Twists of life 16/07/11

We started with an amazing ellies sighting at w7, we watched a
breeding heard with some of them moving less then 2 meters from the car
for more then 20 metres, the shadow my guests were casting from the
early sun clearly visible on the elephant body, what's better ?
Maybe and I say maybe the two male lions we saw just after were
better... but I am not sure. They were beautiful indeed, the sun
shining in their eyes. They are the same two new males we found at the
giraffe kill. Apparently they are sons of Evander as Riaan could check
from pictures of many years ago, they are back in the area after many
years and they are claiming it. The fact that they are returning
residents explains why they are so confident with cars.
One of the two as a big wound close to the armpit, probably a gift
from a buffalo, the other a gash under the eye, but an old wound as
we saw it already the other day.
Kipunji pride was spotted again with the cubs and we had an amazing
sighting of them suckling and dozing around.
In the afternoon we went back to w7 just to see a herd of buffalo
going towards water straight in line with one of the male lions that
already crossed to the south side of the sand river. Buffalo came
closer and closer unaware of the cat, the lion moved slightly out of
the way and ducked in tall grass. Buffalo passed less then ten meters
from him , a limping cow trailing at the back and when they were all
gone the lion launched himself after them. We lost him in the thick but
gained sight again as we reached the river bed. The lion was running
behind the entire herd: 100 and more buffs chased by a single male, in
dust and stampeding noise. The thing could not last, the lion had not
help from the brother and the herd soon turned back, now was the lion
to be chased by the soldiers of the herd. And he had to run.. and run
Twists of life.

About lions and buckets 12/07/11

Lions woke me up again, this time around 3 am, I heard rustling in the
leaves very close to my tent, something was walking and the gait was
not the short and fast on of the jackals. I stood up and went to check
out of the window of my tent. In the moonlight I found myself facing a
lion closer then a meter from me. It got scared and moved some meter
distant so I opened my tent and watched outside with my torch, lions
were everywhere.... I love that.
I also could see one lion, just outside of the reach of my torch's
beam, there was something strange about him, the shape of the head was
weird and he was behaving very strange. As he approached I realised
why, his head was stuck in a white plastic bucket, the type we used to
bring water for guest's shower. No surprise if the head was looking
weird, he was obviously blind and he was walking into bushes and trees
and bouncing back, maaan it was fun.... the poor thing was running
mad, I had a good laugh, but after few minutes of laughing I became a
bit worried, what if the lion could not remove the thing?
Tomorrow some guest of this park may spot a lion with the head in a
bucket? and more then that how could he survive? as I was thinking
that he set himself free and immediately relaxed.
The lions moved to the back of my tent, some waking on the ground
sheet on the front. Wonderful.
As they left I could go back to sleep.
Good lions both in the morning and in the afternoon, at breakfast
point, then a lioness of khumi crossing the river and trying with
impala and again cubs at breakfastpoint in the evening.


African civet 11/07/11

Mbagi pride tried to catch a giraffe again but missed because of a stupid young
male showing himself in a clearing. Happens, often young cats spoil
the hunt but we still do not appreciate.
The highlight of the day was a super cool African civet, just as the
sun was setting, in the shade of the forest , it was busy feeding on
Diospyros fruits. Completely unphazed by our presence he went on
forging ten meters from us for ages, eventually we had to leave.. he

What’s in the impala's eye? 10/07/11

We spotted lazy lions in the morning at breakfast point, but soon
after that a weird thing got our attention completely. An adult ram
impala looked lie he had something stuck into his eyes. We tried to
get closer but he did not allowed us, man the thing was big, at least
ten centimetres off the eye. We thought first of a bit of wood but
looked too odd.
Buffaloes were coming to drink so we went to see from the rocks... one
big bull had very fresh wounds on the back and tail region and the
oxpecker were making it worst. He kept running here and there to get id
of them and eventually came all the way to the water below the rocks we
were watching from and plunged into water. One pissed off buff you do
not want to meet in a walk.
Out of this sightings we could have a better look of the impala and
eventually we came to think it had a strange growth from inside the
eye... but still we are not sure.
We saw cheetah and leopard late in the morning