I thought the Okavango Delta was the highlight of the trip, but I was mistaken. Phinda Game Park has been even better. I think that our guides Mat and Moosie have made it such a great experience. Moosie is the tracker and he sits up the front of the jeep and has an uncanny ability to spot tracks and know what the animals are doing. He picked up lion prints, leopard prints and cheetah prints in the sand and based on where they were, was able to track them down. Mat could be the new David Attenborough as he turned off the track and we bashed through the bush with such enthusiasm and excitement as we followed two lions and a lioness a dusk, hearing them communicate and even watching the lioness throw herself onto the sand roll around when she heard the male roar. Gunther is going to practice that.
This morning we saw a family of cheetahs, a mother and two sons and we watched the sons test their metal against some buffalo. The cheetah would have no chance of bringing down a buffalo and the mother distracted the buffalo from her brood by walking close to the buffalo, whereby they began to follow her instead. The two sons were just like adolescents, testing boundaries. Buffalo are very tough animals and way up in the feeding chain. The male can grow up to 1000 kilos and can kill a lion by spearing them with their horns and throwing them in the air. They also stampede to attack and are known to kill around 200 people a year. They protect their calves by surrounding them when under threat.
We watched the cheetahs have their fun and suddenly there were two lions hunting the buffalo. The park is 275 square kilometres and they are looking to widen it even more by buying up two more huge tracts of land next to the existing park which make the park 1,300 square kilometres and would allow the natural migration to occur. It is wonderful to watch these animals behave in the wild. It’s all about male dominance and mating. The toughest animal has the most to eat and a choice of females to mate with. Makes one think about the human world!
Going out on safari at 5.30 in the morning, we saw a dead giraffe being protected as a food source by three lioness sisters.
They chased away hyenas and vultures and would gorge themselves and then lie flat out till they gorged themselves again. This may last up to 5 days and did that giraffe stink! Greedy girls!
I don’t think I can ever go to a zoo again. These animals were just so marvellous in the wild and the game parks seem to be very well managed. Most Africans we talked to are passionate about conservation and as in Namibia, money goes back into the communities.