Elephant vs Crocodile at Lion Sands, Kruger National Park
Dec30

Elephant vs Crocodile at Lion Sands, Kruger National Park

Elephant vs Crocodile in the Kruger National Park This morning on a game drive the guests at Lion Sands, in Kruger Concessions of Kruger National Park, were enjoying a peaceful time with a herd of elephants swimming and drinking at the newly flowing river. Suddenly their attention was drawn to the bank by an elephant trumpeting in distress. A quick thinking guest snapped the photo below. It seems that the elephant was in the shallows when the crocodile snapped its jaws shut on the end of the elephants trunk. The elephant tried to shake the croc off but couldn’t. The elephant then backed up onto the bank, dragging the crocodile, still attached to his trunk, with him. He then knelt down on top of the crocodile, which caused the croc to let go. Both of them then retreated to lick their wounds. And so started another exciting day in the Kruger...

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Amazing Game Viewing at Africa on Foot and nThambo
Dec22

Amazing Game Viewing at Africa on Foot and nThambo

Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp provide Amazing Game Viewing The last few weeks have seen some truly amazing game viewing around the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve camps of Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp. It started off with visiting with a pack of African Wild Dogs, a wonderful sight! They were seen on the main tarred road that runs through the Klaserie and Timbavati Reserves. Our team got to visit with them before they darted off into the bush on the prowl for a meal.       The team then came across the still body of a young female Leopard. Chloe Cooper wrote this story, with pictures by Kevin MacLaughlin, they were part of the team that found her.   Survival of the fittest means only one thing; that those who are weaker will succumb, and those who succeed will prosper. When predators take down prey, we call it the circle of life, when predators take on predators, it is a vicious and brutal fight, often to the death. Competition in the wild is rife. It’s every man for himself, and each pride for their own. This week the Greater Kruger Park lost a leopard; a young female we had seen with her kill just the night before. Her belly was still full as she lay motionless in the grass, her fur slightly dishevelled, and evidence of bite marks puncturing her neck. The two Ross Pride lionesses dominate the area around Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp, and currently they are hiding one small cub. The instinct to protect their young, and the determination to eliminate the enemy would give these lions enough reason to kill a leopard in their path. Perhaps she took a turn into lion territory that night and had no chance to escape the ruthless lionesses as they set out to hunt. The next morning the lions were found triumphantly feeding on their buffalo prey, while their faded tracks led back to the lifeless young leopard in the distant grass. The recent rains have flushed the evidence from the ground, but it seems that the Klaserie Reserve saw a battle between cats in the early hours of the morning. One youthful leopard no match for a team of ferocious lionesses with a cub to protect. Sometimes jubilant, at times, devastating, the African bush is a combination of celebration and destruction. Standing next to the silent body of a leopard in all her glory was a reminder of the brutality of it all. Watch Kevin MacLaughlin’s video on this story, taking a look at the unforgiving nature of the wild, and the aftermath of...

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Umkumbe Safari Lodge, Sabi Sand – A week in pictures
Dec22

Umkumbe Safari Lodge, Sabi Sand – A week in pictures

Umkumbe Safari Lodge is in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Umkumbe Safari Lodge is one of our favourites in the Sabi Sand area of the Greater Kruger Park. One of the awesome rangers, Angele, sent us this message, as she says goodbye to Umkumbe to move on to the next chapter in her life.   My final Week in Pictures. It is hard to believe that this is my last contribution. What a way to end and what a send off! The bush did not disappoint this week. Guests were enthralled by the smallest to the biggest creatures. Even the rains could not dampen spirits. Green and alive and full of new life, the highlights of the week included the Styx Pride traversing our boundary, both male & female cheetah relaxed at separate sightings and of course, we can’t forget to mention our leopards… Nottens female on the hunt, Nottens cub in a tree, Maxebeni patrolling his territory, Bicycle Crossing male crossing the river in front of the lodge and White Dam on the hunt. What’s more, guests were also treated to wild dogs making a kill on our river front! With all the leopards around, the hyenas have been just as plentiful and in hot pursuit of their scent trails. The heat of summer has also enticed many reptiles out of aestivation. We’ve had beautiful sites of monitor lizards, leopard tortoises, boomslang and rock python to name a few. If that doesn’t convince you to come to the Sabi Sand, then perhaps experiencing 80+ elephants surround the vehicle this week just might do the trick. Lastly, with the rains, comes not only new growth with a veritable kaleidoscope of flowers, but also new life… Impala lambs, zebra foals, elephant & gnu calves, to name a few. Let’s just say that this week has been the best farewell I’ve ever received. Thank you mother nature!!! – Angele                         Cameron Engelbrecht, another of Umkumbe’s expert rangers, also mailed through some of his stunning images from the last week’s sightings. Leopard cubs galore, as well as the big male leopard, Maxabeni. A rhino and a buffalo have a staring competition at a wallowing hole, while a pair of plated lizards bask in the sun.    ...

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Wild Dogs on Film
Dec08

Wild Dogs on Film

Wild Dogs on Film – by Chloe Cooper, photos and video by Kevin MacLaughlin African wild dogs, also know as Cape hunting dogs, and painted dogs are purely carnivorous, and they are very good at it. Their co-operative breeding behaviour and incredible social structure means that the whole pack (can reach up to 30 individuals) works together to support the breeding effort and the strength and survival of the pack. It is quite unique, especially considering that only one female (the alpha female) breeds at a time, and that usually only the alpha male sires the pups during his reign. Sadly, these remarkable canids are severely endangered (2nd most endangered carnivore in Africa) due to habitat fragmentation and conflict with humans, and it is estimated that not more than 6000 individuals (an optimistic number) exist in the wild. Recently, at Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, these rare predators were seen gallivanting through the area, and guests were lucky enough to get them on game drive. A short video capturing the scene was taken by John Dixon from Africa on Foot:   Wild dogs are known to move through the area fairly often; however, their presence is unpredictable, as their home ranges are very large. In the Kruger, the average home range occupied by one pack is 450 square kilometres, and in larger areas like the central Kalahari in Botswana, the home ranges can extend up to a staggering 4500 square kilometres! With an innate instinct to protect and strengthen their pack, wild dogs readily and quickly adopt pups whose mothers have died, and have even been known to feed captive pups through the bars of a cage during a reintroduction operation (Wild Ways, Peter Apps, 2014). The pack consists of the alpha pair and subordinate family members, which take turns to act as ‘babysitter’ when there are young pups in the den. Once the pack returns from a hunt, the babysitter will ‘beg’ for food by whining and licking its peers’  faces. The begging evokes an involuntary act of regurgitation and chunks of meat are brought up to feed the babysitter.     3 Months after the birth of a litter of pups, the pack will begin to move around their home range again, starting at about 5-10 kilometres a day. Only at 2 years old are the pups ready to take part in hunts, but only at 3 years old will they be effectively participating in the feeding activity. Wild dogs can live for up to 12 years, and each litter of pups averages at around 7-10 individuals. They are predated on...

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Kruger Lion takes on a crocodile – and Wins!
Nov27

Kruger Lion takes on a crocodile – and Wins!

Kruger Lion in action It’s not often that you see a lion take on a crocodile! These epic images come from Nick Du Plessis who is a guide in the Kruger National Park with Singita Lodges. On their Facebook page Singita says that a game drive with Nick as the guide ended their evening on a high, visiting with the Shishangaan Pride who had just caught a giraffe. This pride has 2 lionesses and 6 cubs. The next morning they headed back to the same spot only to find that the carcass of the giraffe was finished!  And right in the same area was a lone male lion eating from crocodile remains.  Nick said that there was a tussle for the giraffe remains by crocodiles, the lionesses and the male lion. He said that the lone male would have overpowered the lionesses and snatched their meal. When the crocodiles then tried to steal it from the lion, he fought them off, ultimately claiming his second meal – which lasted him 3 days. Here are some pictures that Nick...

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It’s Baby Season in Botswana!
Nov17

It’s Baby Season in Botswana!

For the last few weeks the Sun Destinations team of photographer and film maker Kevin MacLaughlin and blogger Chloe Cooper were exploring the wild and beautiful Botswana. They returned to their respective offices – Kevin to the bush at Africa on Foot, and Chloe to the office in Cape Town, and shared their amazing trip with words and pictures, showing that it really was Baby Season in Botswana! Here is what Chloe had to say, accompanied by amazing pictures taken by Kevin.   On a recent trip to Botswana, we bore witness to some of the first impalas to be born of the season, baby warthogs tearing up the ground in an excitable game of ‘tag’, and some of Africa’s fiercest predators in their cute n fluffy youth. Well, their presence at a bloody kudu kill tainted their innocence slightly, but soon their playful tug-of-war with the kudu’s ear took them right back to cub-hood. Take a look at this week’s Week in Pictures, provided by Sun Destinations’ photographer and filmmaker, Kevin MacLaughlin.     A pride of 6 cubs, 3 lionesses, and 1 dominant male lion was settled just along the main road bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve near Haina Kalahari Lodge in Botswana, and resting under a nice, shady tree was the glassy-eyed remains of a kudu bull. Scattered on both sides of the fence line, the pot-bellied lion cubs were in full view of our game viewer, and they were too fat to go anywhere. Two out of the 3 mothers rested on the sand road in front of us, while the black-maned male was secluded under a tree, having eaten his fill. One lioness was feasting greedily on the kudu, as was a pair of determined cubs, while the rest of the family lay uncomfortably with swollen tummies. What an incredible sight and photo opportunity with the setting Kalahari sun! After flying with Major Blue Air in a stylish 6 seater airplane over the Okavango Delta, we set off on a game drive to Mapula Lodge in a private concession of the northern Delta. On the way to the lodge, a flurry of action turned our attention to a termite mound on the left, and what we saw was a pair of warthog siblings engaging in a chase of one another. Mother warthog grazed around them without batting an eyelid and we managed to drive right up to them and watch them fly along the ground in true child-like fashion before settling down for a rest and allowing us to take a couple of photos. Camping might have been the most fun out of the...

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14 Lions versus 1 Elephant Video
Nov14

14 Lions versus 1 Elephant Video

Norman Carr Safaris took this video in the South Lunagwa National Park in Zambia of 14 lions versus 1 elephant! You will never guess who wins… This absolutely amazing sighting was taken while on a game drive from Chinzombo Camp in the South Luangwa National Park.  Watch this video of a pride of 14 lions versus 1 elephant that was some how separated from his herd. This brave Elephant has since been named Hercules, and Norman Carr Safaris has reported that he was re-united with his herd. Not that he needed the help in the end ! The South Luangwa National Park has been rated by many as one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The South Luangwa National Park offers incredible birdlife and the diverse vegetation offers the ideal habitat. A big attraction to the park is the famous ‘walking safari’ and is the best way to explore this magnificent area. The park is home to 60 different animal species and over 400 bird species. Large herds of elephant can frequently be seen on the plains and buffalos and hippos are spread throughout the valley. Zebra can also be seen in abundance, as well as the Thornicroft’s Giraffe, unique to Luangwa Valley. The park has one of the densest populations of leopard in Southern Africa as well as an active predator population and lions are abundant in the...

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