Hunting in the green freshness of a post storm Dambwa

9 12 2011

On the 6th the pride had split into three groups, spread throughout the site; Loma and Leya were near water pan one, Rusha and Temi were at pan 2 while Kela and Kwandi were lounging around in Tsavo. We spent most of the day with the K sisters, being the most alert we thought there might be some chance of a bit of action from them at some point whilst the other remained comatose.

We were rewarded at mid-morning with a hunt. As we arrived after the breakfast break we found Kwandi alone on Tsavo; Kela’s signal was still in the area, but suggested she was quite some distance away. Kwandi’s eyes were locked on a herd of 30-odd impala milling around obliviously on the plain in front of her. There was relatively little cover for her to utilise, but undeterred she marched straight out into clear sight. Now, Kwandi’s a very good hunter and was so even as a cub (she made Livingstone’s first ever kill, and followed it up with three more before retirement from walking) – but even for her, this seemed like a lot of faith in her hunting abilities. And very quickly, sure enough the impala spotted her and gave a warning snort.

But she soldiered on nonetheless; now not even bothering to hunker down into a crouch but walking brazenly up to them. As they started to panic and move off she went into a slow chase just as Kela appeared racing out of the tall grass from the other side of the herd. Kwandi’s strategy was now clear – show herself and panic the herd into her sister’s direction who must have flanked around the entire section of the site as Kwandi bided her time in preparation. It nearly worked too, but the girls were just a fraction too early in their execution.

The 7th we were kept out of the site by the weather.  We attempted to enter in the afternoon, a few hours following the storm, but after 200m it became very clear we were going nowhere and nowhere quickly – except back out of the site.

Luckily the bad weather held off long enough for the area to dry out sufficiently for us to make a trip into the site the next morning. All six lions were back together near the main road through Kariba, resting throughout the morning the only point of note was when Loma, Leya and Rusha were panicked out of their slumber when a rotten branch fell out of the tree they were resting under, barely missing Rusha and Leya.

After breakfast we found them in more or less the same spot, but they had been joined by a waterbuck. We stopped a good 100m away from the lions and could see that Kela and Kwandi were already vigilant to the waterbuck, which was quite obliviously ambling along towards the Sanga boundary. Within seconds of our arrival Kela was up and stalking, swiftly closing the 120m distance between herself and the waterbuck – who still had not even the slightest inkling of the doom that was looming.

Kela was about half way across the area when Kwandi and Rusha stood and began to approach – at a slower rate, and within the blink of an eye Kela was right on its tail, literally only 10m away. The waterbuck never turned around but at that point seemed to spook and charged off to join some impala and zebra that were grazing 200m away. Kela watched on, but only stalked a little further before returning to the pride.





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