Final Arathusa Lodge Safari

Andy, Judi, Ranger Cedric and Tracker Derek close-upWith our 05:30 wake-up call this morning came the realisation that this was our final safari and shortly we would be moving on to other adventures. Immediately on leaving the cabin and heading along the path towards the Lounge, we heard an animal noise that we both thought was a bird, so we happily continued. While enjoying a quick cuppa and chatting, we described the noise, at which point the Rangers advised it was a Hyena. Gulp! had we known it was Hyena, we would have retreated to the cabin and called the Ranger. Ha Ha! City Slickers and proud of it.All aboard at 06:00 and we departed for our final safari. Cedric headed up towards the airstrip on a hazy morning and within minutes we had spotted the pride of lions. Wow, what a difference in their behavior, no gorging themselves or lying around with bloated tummies; today they were alert and striding with purpose.

Lion female walking with purpose along side of airstrip

Lion female walking with purpose along side of airstrip

This is one of the 4 adult females and today she appeared to fill the role of leader of the pack. Here she is striding purposefully out ahead of the others, who were following behind.

Lions walking towards the alpha female out leading the pack

Lions walking towards the alpha female out leading the pack

It was very interesting watching how the pride operate, especially those following behind. Periodically the ones at the front of the pack would stop and lay down, while the others passed them. This process was repeated many times.

Lion adult female leader listening for replies to her growls

Lion adult female leader listening for replies to her growls

The leader stopped out in front of us, with the pack behind, which basically put us in the middle. She then started howling. Cedric figures she is coming into heat and this is her calling the males.

Lion approaching the truck

Lion approaching the truck

Above is one of the pack approaching our truck, but she took one look and continued ahead towards the leader out front. She walked past at a distance of 3 to 4 feet.

Lions out front playing

Lions out front playing

The next photographs show the young lions intently watching the leader.

All young lions intently watching adult female leader

All young lions intently watching adult female leader

Lion young male and female watching the truck

Lion young lions watching adult females out front intently

At this point Cedric received a call regarding possible Cheetah sounds out close to the Kruger National Park boundary. Cheetah sightings are very rare, so off we went. Cedric’s only request was hold on.

For the next 30 to 40 minutes we raced along the roads at high speed, well definitely faster than previous trips. It was definitely a fun ride and way better than Disneyland. Arriving at the location Cedric advised that unlike lions and leopards, the cheetah doesn’t follow the roads, preferring to travel in the cover of the bush.  We probably spent the best part of an hour crashing through the bush and creeping slowly along the roads, but alas, the elusive cheetah remained under cover.

Accepting defeat we retreated to a clearing to drown our sorrows with the ritual of morning tea, coffee and biscuits in the bush. Suitably refreshed we climbed aboard for the long trip back to the lodge and our final hearty breakfast.

Andy, Judi, Cedric and Derek with safari vehicle

Andy, Judi, Cedric and Derek with safari vehicle

Andy, Judi, Ranger Cedric and Tracker Derek close-up

Andy, Judi, Ranger Cedric and Tracker Derek close-up

This brings to a close our safari adventures for this trip, but what a brilliant experience and we couldn’t have asked for a better Ranger, Tracker or fellow guests, to share the experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s