Bye Bye Botswana, but first more lions, leopards and wild dogs

For the moment in Johannesburg, waiting for my bus to go to Cape Town and Stellenbosch to visit a friend.

First more stories about Botswana:
17/07 I MISSED A LION KILL
Me and Ugo woke up early to go again to Marabou pan to conduct some interviews, on the way there we saw to young male lions. At first they were resting on the road, but one of the tourist cars came and the lions took off… we followed the for a while. At some point it looked like they were stalking a giraffe. One of the two lions was really stalking, to other was just a bit behind and taking it a bit easier… The last one was not that much into stalking and suddenly he sneezed as well, so I guess to first one was a bit frustrated and so far the hunt… although I’m still not sure if they were really hunting or just looking around. At the Marabou pan we saw a Hyena passing by, very nice…

Also our first tourists arrived, and we got the information there were some lions on the other side of the river. The PhD student wanted to try an other protocol on behaviour of tourists around predators, so we went of to search for this lions… After a while we found the pride of lions, but they were not doing much, so after 20min, half an hour we left them. We went on the search for the cheeta, cause I was giving it a try to see all big predators in 24h, what was kind of a fail…

In the evening we heard about a cheeta being seen in the morning in the area where we were searching in the afternoon, but there was more craziness… Apparently just 5-10 min after we left the lions, our other team arrived there and a buffalo was coming to close to the resting pride, so suddenly they started to hunt the buffalo and they took it down in front of our other team… so I just have some nice pictures of it… but I missed it myself. The hunt took about 1,5h. So I had seen lions and hyena this day, and wild dogs the evening before, but now I was a bit disappointed…. I guess I’m spoiled with wildlife sightings.

In the evening everything got clear as well, in the afternoon we also so a big herd of about 75 elephants moving very fast… so probably they knew about the kill and moved as far and as fast as possible away.

This was our last day of field work, the day after we went for a 2 day trip to Khwai, in the Moremi national park, not so far away. There we had hyenas passing by our tent at night, pretty awesome. but the best has still to come.

One morning we went of to Hippo pool, cause it is nice with hippos and crocs. Just when we got there, there was a wild dog standing on the road, it was collared (gps collar around its neck). Suddenly we saw more of them, and they were on a mission… they got really organized, some of the pack moving to the bush, others were just waiting in an open area. I saw them chasing an impala and a Lechwe, but these survived and the impalas and Lechwe were just standing in the deep water. Apparently we missed the actual kill, but we found the pack of wild dogs a bit further shewing on bones and meat, bloody all over… this was an other great experience, we were just driving our car back and forward, try to follow the hunt. the wild dogs didn’t care at all.

Already time to write about my last day in the bush in Botswana. Me and Ugo woke up early again in our last effort to find a cheeta, but we didn’t. We saw 2 hyenas and at some point we were tracking some fresh leopard tracks on the sandy road. Suddenly a mixed herd of impala and tsesebe (looks like a wildebeest) came running towards us, so that shouldn’t be because of us. we waited a bit and yes, there was again a pack of wild dogs, 11 of them, just traveling around. It looked like they had made a kill earlier that morning, because some were again bloody on their face… circle of life.

As it couldn’t end better, we heard about a leopard a bit further on the road, so we speed up a bit… and yes, there was a leopard, if I remembered correctly, it should be my 6th of the trip. I just saw a glimpse of it. But this one just had killed an impala and carried it in a tree. it was really fresh…
And so ended my wildlife experience in Botswana.
On the way to Johannesburg we got a fine for speeding, oops, but after talking a bit to the police men, we just left without paying anything…

So now I am in Johannesburg. It was quite contrasting to see the differences between Botswana and South Africa… Botswana just had the protected nature reserves, but very few… During the small time I’ve been in South Africa, I have the feeling South Africa is better organized. I’ve seen a lot of private reserves next to the road, although also some advertisement for hunting and stuff… To me it felt like this private game reserves are more like farms… but at least some stuff to think about.

Now it’s almost time to take the bus to Stellenbosch, from there I’ll organize things further for my next project. First need to survive the big city of Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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