Lion Ecology and Monitoring Volunteer Project: UPDATE November 2014


Summer is definitely here! It is soooo hot! It had been around 36 degrees!!

We are back with a couple of great and exciting drive stories! This time we will talk about CLEO the female collared leopard and a close encounter with our lions!

On Wednesday of the past week, Koos went on drive to look for Cleo, the female collared leopard and the game drive was 100% successful! After about 1 hour of searching, Koos and the volunteers were very pleased to see her sleeping on a tree completely relaxed with the car! What a great sighting! Volunteers could enjoy her presence for almost one hour. It is always a special feeling to see the a leopard, as they are very elusive animals, shy and rely on their amazing camouflage. Also, it is a real reward every time we manage to get a visual of Cleo, every guide feels really rewarded… She has the power to make you feel special, as it is not the easiest of the tasks to see her! Enjoy the photos taken by our returning volunteer GJ!

Coming back to the lions, it seems a period in which the positive karma of these happy volunteers is giving great results!!! 3 drives, 3 amazing sightings of Mbhurri, Acacia, Matumi, Mfuti and Dela!!! On the first occasion, Sabrina and the volunteer Peter (who was the only person on drive as a group of volunteers were on excursion to Kruger) had to do a lion chase (the most exciting and rewarding one!) as they appeared to be moving from the middle of the reserve in an easterly direction. We had to cross a couple of blocks, doing a small “Ferrari Safari” to be able to catch up with them! Luckily they decided that the full bellies they had were too heavy to continue the morning jogging and they stopped just on the road!!! As soon as we arrived, Mfuti was hiding just a bit behind a bush, and as soon as she saw us she might have thought:” This morning I feel like being a good girl, and I will sit in the middle of the road, so they can take beautiful photos of me!” Thank you Mfuti! And if it was not enough, after about 20 minutes of laziness in front of the car, she decided to walk around a bush, go grooming a bit with Matumi, and then come back to the car, about 2 metres of distance, and sit by us… So amazingly close!!!! We could see EVERY single hair she has on her strong body!!! Lovely and really touching.

The other lions were completely knocked and slept slept slept and only from time to time they opened an eye to check if we were still there Happy volunteers, happy lions!

On the other drive, believe it or not, we drove past the same group of lions without spotting them (they were about 30m in the block from the road)!!! Because you have to know that lions look like rocks (like elephants and rhino do…)… Sometimes it is easy to miss them, especially if you are driving. We drove towards the river but as the signal was indicating the lions were now behind us, we drove back on Concrete Crossing Link… Sabrina stopped the car, jumped off, asked the volunteer to check the telemetry… Lions on a signal 5.5 (which is pretty good!)… everyone started scanning better the area, and in the meantime that she spotted a “rock/lion to be checked with binocular”, Stephen one of our long term volunteers from the UK, all proud, with his bino in the hands said:” that “lion/rock” is looking at me and it is Dela! What a surprise!!!” – it was quite a funny moment and it is difficult to describe the happiness of Stephen for having spotted the lion before everyone else!!! All proud of him, great job!!! We had to offroad a bit to get a better visual of them, as from the road we could only see the head of Dela sticking out of the grass; the lions, again, were lying down, with a big belly and they let us watching them for quite a long time, before disappearing following Acacia who seemed to be interested in Impalas close-by (Is she attempting to become as fatty as Selati and Mica?! They were already full)


Well, enjoy the photos and see you soon at the next update! The bush is really giving us a lot of emotions in these past days, also thanks to the first rains which are contributing to turn it into a really green colouration, interrupted by pink, orange, red, yellow, blue flowers!!!

It is a great season to come visit us…. Tiny little new born animals are jumping around everywhere!!!

 Join us today on this amazing volunteer project.


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