If you ask travellers the main reason for coming to South Africa the answer is normally to “see the animals” and in particular the big 5 which are elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard.  My guests have not been disappointed.  We are staying in the Greater Kruger Park at Ngala Safari Lodge in the Timbavati and have been out on four game drives so far and have experienced some wonderful sightings.  Our first drive was in the late afternoon/evening and we started the drive by seeing two lionesses resting on a large termite mound, doing what all cats do, nothing.  They were two very beautiful lionesses and after watching them for some time we headed off in search of more game and as luck would have it we came across a small herd of elephants.  The evening drive was turning out to be quite something.  Our next sighting was again of two lions but this time males and while watching them another lion some distance away began calling and both lions were on their feet and roaring.  Our guide told us that these two lions were giving a warning to the other male to stay out of their territory.  It was so fascinating to watch the lions reaction and we followed these two brothers for sometime as they continued to roar and mark their territory.  Dinner at the lodge was in the Boma and after such an exciting drive we were all ready for a good dinner and early night.

The next day we were up at 5am and on the road shortly afterwards and within very little time we came across a young male leopard asleep up a tree.  The leopard had taken his kill up the tree the previous day and had been eating on it since then and now needed to rest.  He was a beautiful leopard that our guide said was around five years old and he had just fathered two cubs to the resident female in the area.  The rest of the morning drive was spent admiring giraffes, zebras, and impala as they roamed around the open plains.  Back at the lodge for the rest of the day we were able to have a swim, catch up on reading and some of us had a massage.  It can be a very hard life being a guest at a game lodge.  The afternoon/evening drive had only just began when the tracker found the female leopard and her cubs, with mum up a tree feeding on her kill and the cubs hanging around on the ground.  We only saw the one cub who later came up the tree and also had a feed and our guide advised us that the other cub was in the bushes but we failed to see her.   We continued our drive and saw a male buffalo on his own which is very normal as males leave the herd as they get older and slow down.  Our next sighting was a magnificent rhino grazing away and we stayed with him for some time before he wandered off into thick bushes, so it was time for sundowners in the bush and watch a spectacular sunset and remind each other that we had seen the big 5.   Again a wonderful day of game viewing and it was back to the lodge for dinner and swapping of stories with other guests on what we had all seen,

Another 5am start today but what a morning.  Within 30 minutes of leaving camp we came across a large pride of eight lionesses and one adolescent lion who were on the hunt as they had been unsuccessful the previous night.  It was fascinating to watch the pride stalk a lone wildebeest which they did not manage to bring down and we spent  the rest of the morning following these lions as they moved through the bush in search of a kill.  It really cannot get better than this.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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