When Lions and Cheetahs Visit at Home
I know I haven’t written in a while, but I have recently become a cat mother again, which has kept me rather busy. We don’t have kids, so to us, our animals are our everything. I adopted Shumba two and a half weeks ago, and then his brother desperately needed a home, so a couple of days ago I adopted Archie. They are adorable, but are quite a handful (double trouble), and as a result, I haven’t been going in to the park as often, nor do I even sit on the deck as much.
But never fear, for when I don’t get out, the wildlife seems to come to me :)...
And yesterday was just one of those days, “ one for the books,” as they say.
Gramps called me in the morning, and told me there were a pride of lionesses outside, and that I should make haste. So I grabbed all the essentials, Camera, binos, lens, and dashed out to the deck. And there they were, four beautiful lionesses sitting on the rocks on the river bend, where they so love to lie. It was the Vurhami ladies, and it made for a welcomed surprise, as they haven’t visited all together this winter season yet.
I noticed on my last drive in Kruger a few days ago, that it's getting dry, and that means that even more game and predators will flock down to the river in front of us.
It was a chilly day, and although the sun was out, I sat there nursing a hot cup of coffee, with my thick jacket on. It’s the breeze that comes off the river that gets you. The lionesses, of course, loved it though, and were playful like giant kittens.
They sat on the rocks for quite a while, then walked in to the river bed where they pranced about, before drinking some water and moving towards Crocodile Bridge, disturbing every guinea fowl that was hiding in the reeds.
We had a beautiful sight of them as they strolled past in front of our home, with the impalas alarm calling in state of panic behind them. Then they crossed the road just above Crocodile Bridge, giving two very lucky cars a spectacular sighing and headed in to the thick bush, on their way past the rest camp.
What a great day, I thought…
And then it just got even better.
It was late afternoon, and Darryl and I were outside walking the cats when Gramps called again. This time, he said, a cheetah has just come “smearing it” in his terms, past the deck.
Darryl and I put the cats in the house, and dashed out to see what was going on.
We spotted the cheetah, near to the Crocodile bridge, and then a little while later, an impala carcass. Gramps had told us, that she was chasing the impalas, and he heard a lot of commotion, but he didn’t actually see the kill.
Before lockdown, I had never seen cheetah here in my life before. But, since lockdown, this will be the third time we've had them visit, and of course never in my wildest dreams did I imagine seeing a cheetah on a kill here, right in front of us! You can check out my other cheetah stories here: Lockdown Isn't So Bad When Three Cheetahs Visit
The cheetah was nervous, and aware of her surroundings, but nothing spooked her off her meal, and she had a good helping.
Quite a few cars stopped on their way out of the park for a glimpse of her, but she was difficult to see from that side, especially when she was lying down and eating.
What an absolute privilege it is, to have this elegant beauty eating her supper right in front of us, I mused.
That winter sun was disappearing quickly beyond the horizon, and as that last light was fading, so was the sighting of the cheetah.
Four dagga buffalo boy silhouettes crossed the river in front of us, and a flock of guinea fowls took off, flapping their wings wildly as they flew over the body of water, before landing on the opposite sandbank. Heading “home” for the night. They like to roost in the trees at the bottom of our property.
The chilly winter air crept in, and I myself headed “home” for the night. As I lay in bed and wrote this blog, the hyenas were howling and giggling, and the jackals were wailing in to the dark night's sky, right here.
I tried to explain to Shumba and Archie what those peculiar noises were, and that they were safe here with me. They were rather fascinated by the nightly bush choir.
Never a dull moment in the African wild. I am so grateful for this magical place.
P.S: As the sun was rising, and the mist was rolling off the mighty Crocodile River this morning, I bundled up with a piping hot cuppa coffee, and went outside to see if I could see the cheetah. She was nowhere to be found, nor was the carcass. All that was left, was one vulture sitting where the kill was, and again, I could hear hyenas howling and jackals wailing not far off.