If we are allowed acronyms in life then I like “SELOUS”: Serious Enthusiasts Loving Our Unique Safaris.
We had a group of return Guests that spend a week with us last week and there were surprises galore. On Sunday morning we decided to make our way to Lake Manze via Beho River and along the old Matambwe-Mtemere main road.
Adrian spotted a Spotted Hyena, a very good spot. She was a little nervous and it didn’t take long to figure out why. She has pups; we did not see them as they are hidden in a deep drainage line. We can only assume that they are still very small and still in the den but her swollen teats are enough proof of their presence. The structure of dens does not normally permit the access of adult animals, so cubs must emerge at the den entrance to have contact with their mother. This structure of small channels underground has been considered an effective anti-predator device which protects cubs during the absence of their mother. Circumstantial evidence suggests that predation on cubs by other hyenas (infanticide) or other carnivores may occur but is considered rare. The social life of a clan is centred around the communal den. Some clans use particular den sites for years whereas others may use several different dens within a year or even several den sites simultaneously. We will post their pictures the first chance we see them.
Speaking of first pictures we saw a Crowned lapwing chick perfectly camouflaged in the grass while mom and dad continuously called trying to divert our attention away from the chick. It inhabits dry, open, treeless or sparsely wooded habitats, and shows a strong preference for nesting amongst newly sprouted grass on recently burnt grasslands. The nest is a scrape or depression in the ground often close to trees that provide shade. The species nests semi-colonially, with neighbouring pairs usually spaced between 25 and 50 m part. Bare-part colours of males brighten in the breeding season. Different types of display flights lure the female to the defended territory. A female accepting the male and territory will follow the male during his display flight. Mates may be retained for life. Egg-laying is timed to precede the rainy season and most incubating is done by the female. The male assists only on hot days, when he either incubates or shades the nest.
Lions we got to see every day but particularly on Sunday we sat with half of the lake Manze pride. As we arrived at the water there was a big herd of Nyasa wildebeest that exploded into all directions …they are being hunted. We noticed the lioness that chased after a small group with some calves but she missed. So in the hope they will try again we sat birding for a while until they started moving again. After a drink themselves they headed around to the Eastern side of the lake accompanied by the shadows that are Beho Beho vehicles. A herd of around 25 buffalo appeared and the lions made their way straight towards them. The stalk for position was perfect except for a young lioness who decided she could not wait anymore and she gave chase the others joined but again they missed. They kept on moving and carried on following. They discovered two lionesses with a big Wildebeest bull along the fringes of the palm forest and provided some entertainment; our five chased them and scavenged the kill. This is one of the lions behaviours that we don’t always get to see, but they will scavenge from other predators including other lions if opportunity presents itself.