8 June to 13 June 2009
As the bush begins to get browner and browner and the waterholes begin to dry up, the morning drives get colder and colder and the guests all grab the hot water bottles provided so as to warm up! Winter is now in full force here at Simbambili and the days are getting ever shorter which of course makes the rangers work even harder in the daylight hours to deliver the usual exceptional game viewing we are accustomed to at Simbambili.
This week the game viewing has been exceptional, especially on Friday morning 12 June, we all set out to follow up on the Styx Pride of lions that we had found the night before. Within the first hour of the drive we had picked this pride up only after we first had come across the female leopard Shadow and a new male from the Manyeleti both feeding on an impala that Shadow had killed. This extremely large male had decided to move in and ruin her party. After that the call came over the radio that the Styx Pride were now moving towards the hyena den that we have close by, so we rushed straight there. One of the lionesses began to stalk close to the den where outside the den the adult hyenas were all lying down enjoying the warm morning sun and a little cub was doing the same. Within seconds the first lioness charged and surprised the whole hyena clan, the adults fled in all directions but the poor cub was so surprised by all of this that he turned and ran right into a branch behind him. The lionesses were on him within seconds, leaving the cub motionless.
The pride then began to investigate the den, what they did not know was that the clan had come back with more reinforcements this was now 'Eternal Enemies' the hyenas regrouped and forced the lions back all the time yelping and howling, the lioness then had to move her cubs to a safer place so one of the lionesses moved back and took the cubs to safety while the others stood their ground and fought the hyenas. The noise was unbelievable and deafening, we all sat in amazement as we watched this once in a life time sighting unfold. This was not over! The Tsalala Pride that has their core territory to the south of where this was all unfolding obliviously heard this happening and rushed straight in to investigate. They were also not alone but in the company of a Mapogo male and he was roaring in defiance. When the Styx Pride heard this they fled for their lives as if the Tsalala pride had of caught the Styx within their territory they would have had the upper hand being with the Mapogo and would have almost certainly killed the cubs present at the sighting. What an incredible morning!
This was not the end of the excitement; for on our way back to camp we heard the noise of wild dogs. We rushed into the area where this was coming from, and we found 3 dogs running down the road towards us, we followed them for about 20min before they crossed our boundary and moved into the Manyeleti.
This was morning that everybody involved or anybody who knows the African bush will never take for granted and never ever forget.
The Simbambili Team