Zibadianja Camp - July 2008

Aug 3, 2008 |   |   | 
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Living out in the wilderness, you experience many magical moments that will stick with you for years. Most recently for me it was watching a huge elephant bull sleep. I followed one as it was browsing its way through camp one day, gently stripping fever berry leaves from the branches, slowly moving from one bush to the next. It then walked between the log screens around tent 3 (a gap of around a metre) and began feeding on the bushes there. I walked around onto the deck of the tent to get a better view. His trunk felt around for the most succulent leaves and stripped them off, curled them into his trunk, then plucked them up into his mouth.

From this distance I could make out all the wrinkles and fissures of his skin and the light picked up all the coarse hairs along his tail. He then moved slowly forward into a bush, pushing his way until his head was buried deeply into the foliage. This is when he stopped moving, his penduline tail halted and his active trunk rested quietly on the ground. It took me a while to realise, but all activity had ceased, only the gently rise and fall of his body made me realize he was fast asleep!

I continued to watch him; occasionally his tail would twitch, but he never moved. For around five minutes he stood motionless. Then the end of his trunk moved to the left, then right, then to the left again and picked up a small piece of grass and then dropped it. Maybe he was dreaming?

The lions have been very active around the northern section of the Selinda Reserve near the Zibadianja Lagoon this past month, with two prides moving around the area. One is the Selinda Pride of the three females and five youngsters. The other has a similar pride make-up and we're not quite sure who they are yet. They have both also been hunting successfully, with each pride bringing down a giraffe on the same day, one very close to camp and the other near the headquarters. Two days later one pride took down a buffalo close to the airstrip.

The Selinda Pride spent a day around the Savute Channel. They were spotted early in the morning out in the open, with the young males play-fighting and chasing each other. They moved off a bit when the day heated up and lay in the shade of the fever berries and blue bushes. After brunch we headed out again to see what they were up to. They had not moved and still lay in the shade. Later that day they unsuccessfully chased some waterbuck, impala and warthog.

Despite all of the lion activity, we've still been seeing wild dogs between the old and new Zibadianja Camps. Often we see the two females and they have killed many impalas by themselves.

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