Lion Hunting (for photos)

Trip Start Dec 25, 2009
Trip End Dec 14, 2010

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Where I stayed
Siyafunda, Makalali Private Game Reserve

Flag of South Africa  , Limpopo,
Friday, April 16, 2010

The past week or so has been all about lions for me. Not only have I been doing data interpretation for all of the past 5 years of collected info, but I've also been asked to help get ID kits going for 2 prides which have almost sub-adult cubs (which means they're starting to get their distinctive markings). It's pretty exciting because you really get to know the different lions. I think most people get used ot the different elephant (Yvonne I can pick without a book now which is cool) but lions it's a bit harder unless they're really obvious. So we have 2 prides that we're focusing on - The Zimbabweans (Zingela and Tumbelela and their cubs), and the Makutswis or as they have come to be known "The Poatato Pride". (Kalakari - male, Gertrude, Midge and their cubs) They're bvecome informally the Potato Pride here because I've had a facination with wanting to call something "potato". I asked about calling a hyaena that but I was given big conditions like I have to find the missing clan and then maybe... but then I ID'd one of the Makutswi cubs who we found has a black 'beard' and asked if I could call it potato. An said no but J, an Irishman, suggested "Spud" and it was set. I have since had suggestions like "desiree", "King Edward", "Chat"... It's great! So yeah - lots of lion work.
Last Sunday we visited the Holy Family Orphanage which was a wonderful experience. Each person had a kid almost attach themselves to them, a little girl (well, 13 but physically very little) in a greeen hoodie who's name was Penny decided she would be my friend for the time we were there. It was so sweet, she showed me the pictures she drew and was so proud of her name on the clinic special treatment list. (I have a feeling she may have been one of the kids with HIV). She was so sweet. We got to visit the creche with the litte'uns too (and one 17 year old with physical and mental problems) which was great fun. The kids took my camera and took some fantastic pictures - one little girl was exceptionally talented and even got quite artistic after she worked out how to use it.
Animal sightings this week have gone back up after the rain, all the general game is coming back out into the sun. The elephants are back into theri separate herds, the leopards are on our side of the reserve (we had a fantastic sighting of a HUGE male on the Wwestern Fenceline on Saturday), the lions are moving around in quite territorial ways which could be interetsing, the cheetah... well no-one can find them (not even the collared brothers!).
And the final big event of the last little while was a big party to celebrate "10 years in the bush" for the owners of Twines. It was great - though there was a little too much Hakkiestrudt had... many contravercies came and went but it was overall a fantistic evening.
Oh, and a final final note - the cat got stuck on the roof last night and I couldn't find it for half an hour so I had to get Ch to help with a rescue mission. He's completely recovered but was rather attached to me last night after his ordeal. (I allowed him to take up most of the bed in sympathy, lol)
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