July 19: Lions, more Lions and some Awkward Teenaged Bateleurs

I loved the drive home this morning! Because I often only drive these roads after dark, it’s so disorientating to see the same places in daylight.

At one waterhole I stopped because I saw a kudu. It only took a second to notice something was not quite cool. The kudu was flanked by two jackals and all three were staring intently at a bush nearby. Their gaze led me straight to a lion! He was watching the trio closely, but lions are only active for two of twenty four hours, and this hour was one of the twenty two that are spent crashed out and doing absolutely nothing.

The Kudu staring at the Lion…

…The Lion staring at the Kudu

Go on… drink at the waterhole…

A few hours closer to home I came around a corner and found a mating pair of lions in the road. The female shot me a quick warning look and I stopped at a fair distance. This is where the real difference between a closed vehicle and an open vehicle shines through. In an open vehicle, I had to hang back a little. So I sat and enjoyed some quality time with them.

In Afrikaans, female lions are called ‘Wifeys’ (or something like that). I think it’s one of my favourite ever expressions.

Pretending to sleep

Together

…and mating

I’d been so focused on the two in front that I didn’t even see the two girls on the dune right beside me!

The Wifeys on the dune

Eventually (and perhaps to my relief, because I was in a hurry) a few construction vehicles appeared on the horizon. The sight of something so unusual and  so fabulously yellow sent the pair over to join the others on the ridge, and I took my opportunity to drive away.

Love lions

I counted 23 jackals at the next waterhole.

This morning there were baby Bateleur’s everywhere! But it’s not surprising given that it takes about seven years for a baby to finally take on its parents striking colouration and stop being a mud-brown colour with a greenish bill and awkward naked legs.  Adult Bateleur’s are the most beautiful raptors imaginable, but it takes a heck of a long time to get there.

And now that i’ve seen my first Grey Hornbill in the Kalahari, i’m seeing them absolutely everywhere I look.

Sightings:

Lion
Kudu
Steenbok
Grey Hornbill
Lanner Falcon
Red Necked Falcon
Red Hartebeest
Yellow Mongoose
Ground Squirrel
Kori Bustard
Secretary Bird
Bateleur
Jackal
Gemsbok
Springbok
Wildbeest

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