Teeth and Claws, and talons and bills – that is the best way to describe Lake Manze at present. Lake Manze is a large Lake system located North East of Beho Beho, but in the dry season it is the area of lots of action and activity, for as Selous gets drier, the dried earth and rivers await the welcoming drops of the first rains that parch their thirst for water, animals need to travel to the areas where water is still available. Therefore the Lakes and perinneal rivers become the game hotspots, and where water dependent antelope and zebra go, the lion are sure to follow; and where they make their kills, the winged beasts from the air descend to feed on the carnage.
There have been three main lion prides seen around Manze of late, one pride of 13, which includes two young cubs of 2-3 months old; then another pride of 10, and the regular seen pride on the southern side of Manze which numbers four, two males and two females. Due to the need for water, the lions really don’t need to go too far, especially when you know hundreds of zebra and wildebeest are making their way to the water’s edge to drink. This makes hunting for the lions an easy affair, why go far when you know your food is coming straight to your dining area?
On the many trips to Manze, you’re never too sure what you may see, from possibly seeing 26 lions celebrating Karin’s 26th birthday with a morning drive to Manze, or even seeing a kill, a stalk or surreal sighting of a dead hippo with large numbers of descending vultures coming to feast on the death of a hippo bull, by the jaws of another male. Fights between bulls can be so fierce that it isn’t unusual for a bull to succumb to his injuries inflicted by his lost battle or eviction, as was the case with this unfortunate individual. Turning to the guests on board with the dead hippo on one side of the vehicle in its donga which has turned into a grave, I mentioned that lions, leopard and hyaena would often come and then scavenge from dead carcasses. And as the words had just left my mouth, a lioness came strolling past to the carcass, but only a sniff here and there, before she casually moved past. She was soon followed by a mating pair, a male and female, who also came past, took a sniff of the dead hippo, which seemed below all of their standards, especially when fresh meat is around every corner. So the picture was a dead hippo covered in vultures on the left side of the vehicle and on the right a mating pair of lions, one of those moments where you need to pinch yourself to check that it isn’t a dream.