South Africa Diary 28 August 2002
baboon print [Click to enlarge image] porcupine poo [Click to enlarge image] lion print [Click to enlarge image] impala print [Click to enlarge image] rhino poo [Click to enlarge image] ant lion [Click to enlarge image] leopard tortoise[Click to enlarge image] a bird [Click to enlarge image] It's hot! [Click to enlarge image] rhino mum [Click to enlarge image] my bedroom [Click to enlarge image] slumming it [Click to enlarge image] slumming it [Click to enlarge image] map of the area [Click to enlarge image]

Day 3
This morning's walk was a lesson in tracks and poo, or spoor as it's technically known (poo's so much better. I feel that it captures the smell better). We saw a few impala and warthog but the 'big 5' were elusive. Garth showed us tracks of lion [Click to enlarge image]lion, giraffe [Click to enlarge image]giraffe, baboon [Click to enlarge image]baboon and also excretions of them and others. We did get to see one of the 'little 5', a leopard tortoise on the walk. Well, we saw its shell anyway, the owner was long gone.

The big 5 are leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant. The little five are the rhino beetle, leopard tortoise[Click to enlarge image]leopard tortoise, ant lion [Click to enlarge image]ant lion and another two that I've forgotten!

We've been told that we're going to be kicked out of our camp. They need to do some work building a new septic camp and so we need to move elsewhere. Now the new camp is, Garth says, either 'very basic' or 'quite luxurious'. We'll soon find out...

We saw giraffe, waterbuck and the rhino mum [Click to enlarge image]rhino mum and calf again and a pair of lions on the drive round to the new camp. To say that it's luxurious would be a slight understatement. We've got our own swimming pool, breakfast room, bar, slumming it [Click to enlarge image]dining room - inside and outside, slumming it [Click to enlarge image]lounge... the list goes on and there's only the three of us in the whole place! I've got my own my bedroom [Click to enlarge image]room again, this time with ensuite bathroom. Garth's not best pleased, and is, "wandering around like a lost fart". I get the feeling that he'd much rather be back in the tents. I'd normally agree, however it's the last few days of my trip and I think that I'm fully entitled to enjoy any and all luxuries that are thrust my way. It's a hard life, but someone's got to do it!

Tracking lions was this afternoon's task. Garth knew that there was a lioness with two cubs and the pair of lions that we'd seen on the way over to camp in the area. It was now just a matter of tracking them down. Now the books will tell you that lions are most protective and aggressive when a) looking after young and b) when mating and here we were wandering around in knee high grass, looking for them! To say that it was exciting would be a massive understatement. Despite being able to follow the lioness and cubs fir quite a way, we never managed to find them. We did here the mating couple, erh, mating and Garth did his level best to find them for us.

And find them he did. He instructed us to 'stop' and 'crouch' as he spotted the pair 40 metres off in the tall grass. "We'll wait here", he said, "They'll have a another go in fifteen minutes or so. I really want you to see them mating". Lions will mate over twenty times a day when in the mood, every quarter of an hour or so, before resting for a couple of hours. They had obviously had a busy day because they still hadn't felt like giving us a show after half an hour and rather cramped limbs all round. "Shall I go and provoke them?", Garth asked. Slowly edging towards them, the male caught site and smell of him. All we saw was an enormous head and mane raise out of the grass and stare at us. The lioness then also popped her head up, took a look at us and the pair bolted off into the bush. Again, I was too petrified to want to risk taking any photos.

The Nguni language which is applicable to the Zulu, Xhosa, Smangaam, Ndebele and Siswati peoples has three words for Lion. Ngala (pronounced 'in-gala') means lion. A male lion is an Ndoda (pronounced 'In-doh-da') is a male lion and a lioness is Mfazi (pronounced 'um-far-zi').

To tomorrow

Created by Dan Leigh 28/08/02