We often have to pinch ourselves and take a step back, realising how fortunate and privileged most of us are to be working in such a beautiful place and in nature. It was always my childhood dream and almost a knowing that I would someday be walking and driving in nature’s beauty.
This past week was no different, but was a reassurance why I am in the bush and why Africa is the place of my heart. And all it takes is some breathtaking scenery, fantastic and magical sightings to put a smile on my face and allow me to take in nature’s air and breathe out a sigh of content. Why not when you are doing a transfer of two of your Beho Beho guests to another Selous’ lodge, and you watch as three hungry spotted hyenas devour and surgically dissect a fresh Nyassa Wildebeest kill, this being accomplished due to their biting force of over a 1000kg/ cm2. To put it in other terms, it is the same as taking a big ox femur and splintering it in a vice.
The three hyenas, just consumed the carcass as if they weren’t going to eat again in the next two weeks. It was obvious that the larger female had definitely engorged herself greedily, as her whole face and neck was full of blood. Once she was full, she simply got up and left the rest to the scavenging males who were still hungrily feeding on the carcass. We sat there for some time, observing as the one male with precision broke the lower jaw off and ate some of the ribs, the sound of the crunching and breaking bones as they splintered from the hyena’s jaws, caused goose bumps to raise. He then picked the remnants of a wildebeest and dragged it in front of the vehicle to the opposite side of the car, to carry on feeding on the last scraps.
From the powerful jaws of the hyena to observing, how a lioness approaches her male courter, brushes and almost kisses his nose, before laying in front of him, signalling she is ready for his mating approach. The male speedily gets up and proceeds to straddle the lioness, and then courts her. A very quick affair of 20 seconds, followed every 20 minutes for the next consecutive days. When finished and the male retracts his penis, the female swings round with a following swipe and an aggressive growl, due to the recurved barbs on the penis, which rupture the inner walls of the females vagina causing ovulation when it is retracted.
We even had the delight of watching another pair, mating at sunset last night, whilst we were drinking our sundowners. The amber, red and yellow colours over the horizon as the final rays of the sun reflected back, two lions on honeymoon, getting their groove on as we watched and sipped. Now that is a way to end the day in Africa.