Lion kill on the river…Wow!…

The food chain prevails…a lion killed this zebra. It’s a harsh reality of life in the wild.  

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Ms. Bushbuck, aka “Tom’s Girl,” with pellet crumbs on her nose. We can identify her by her uneven ears. Too cute.

Yesterday afternoon, after uploading the post, doing some laundry and hanging it to dry, and prepping everything for dinner, we decided to take off on our usual drive through Marloth Park.

The holidaymakers were in abundance on the bumpy dirt roads, especially along the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park overlooking the Crocodile River.

When we embarked on our usual drive along the Crocodile River, we spotted this scene along with many others clamoring for space at the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

The Crocodile River is a dangerous place with crocodiles lurking in the water, a wide array of venomous snakes, harmful insects, and of course, myriad apex predators, such as lions, leopards, cape buffalo, and hippos, all of which can cause great harm or fatal injuries to humans.

As a result, boats and humans are not allowed anywhere near the river, except in designated viewing locations in various places in Marloth Park and the vast Kruger National Park. When holidaymakers are here, these viewing locations are often packed with cars.

Many others watching this scene stayed at the viewing area for many hours, eventually spotting as many as six lions feasting on this female’s kill.

The advantage to the number of spectators is that if they find a sighting before we do, we can follow the crowd to see what they’ve spotted, a common practice for safari-goers and wildlife-watchers in national parks abundant with wildlife.

But even after seeing the people with their cameras, cell phones, and binoculars, it’s still not easy to find lions when their coloration blends in with the rocks and dry vegetation making them nearly impossible to see without some guidance.

Then, when we spotted elephants coming down the embankment to the river, we took off to take the following photos.

We’ve been fortunate to encounter spectators who are more than willing to help point out the scene with detailed descriptions while others may be at a loss scanning the terrain through camera lenses and binoculars. We are always thrilled to share the information with others.  

However, there are a select few who appear to want to keep the sightings to themselves. This makes no sense whatsoever. Why not share the wonder of nature with others for whom this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Could these three zebras be watching the scene of the kill when it may have been a  member of their family?

When we saw all the vehicles near the overlook at Two Trees, we had no doubt it had to do with lions. Portable chairs and tables, coolers (called chill boxes here) filled with beer and other drinks, and people of all ages had set up camp to watch the lions for which may have been for hours.

Had we desired to “camp out,” we certainly would have. But for us, as much as we’d prefer to get even more stunning photos, we shot what we could and were on our way.  

Each day, many mongooses have visited, piling atop one another for the raw scramble eggs Tom brings out to them. Now, after these months, they’ve come to know us and stare at us, making funny noises to show us how much they want the eggs. Mongooses are omnivores eating both plants and animals, with an infinity for snakes.  They are immune to snake venom.

We always have a vast array of scenes we’re seeking, and it isn’t always about lions, although we are intrigued with their behavior. But, we can spend the better part of an afternoon interacting with a band of mongooses while observing their adorable demeanor.  

These funny little rodent-like creatures are more intelligent than one might think. They already know how to beg for eggs, making funny noises while making eye contact with us. Known as possible carriers of rabies, we don’t get too close or touch them, never feeding them by hand. (Although, we’ve both been vaccinated for rabies, recently getting boosters).

Some nights, she faces this way, and other nights, she meets the wall.

Even the pesky helmeted guineafowls, of whom we have about 60 in residence, are more intelligent than one might think with their pea-sized brains. They love breaking up the pellets and eating them. They wait in the nearby bush, and when they hear us talking to other wildlife, they come running knowing full well, pellets are on the horizon.

It’s all memorable and meaningful, every single creature, including our new resident frog, who continues to appear at night on a light fixture on the veranda. Each time we see them in that spot, they are in various positions, and we can’t help but laugh.

Once we’re done here today, we’re off for another drive in the park and then heading to Daisy’s Den for more birdseed and outdoor repellent. We’ll be back with more tomorrow…you can count on that!

Have a day filled with wonder!

Photo from one year ago today, September 17, 2017:

This photo, taken from the veranda of our holiday home in Atenas, Costa Rica, before a big storm. For more photos, please click here.

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