Thornybush Game Drive #4: Sleeping Cats

Location: Thornybush Game Preserve

We really like the Serondella Lodge. It’s very luxurious, good amenities, but the lodges lack alarm clocks. Instead the staff give wake up calls by banging on your windows every morning. This season, wake up occurs at 5:00. We both awoke slightly before 5:00 naturally. But then we heard a massive nearby thundershower start. We figured that, they would scrap the wake ups and let us sleep in until the storm passed. Besides, the thunder was so loud that it shook the floor, no one would stay asleep during that anyway…

They knocked on our window around 5:15. The game drive was still on! We met everyone else in the main lodge at 5:30, had our tea and coffee then set out in the truck after the rain stopped around 6:15.

Sadly, most of the animals also decided to avoid the rain, stayed sheltered and made it a lazy morning. For the first hour, the most exciting thing we saw was a woolly necked stork hunting and eating a frog.

Woolly Necked Stork
Woolly Necked Stork

We drove around some more, eventually seeing other animals including:

Hippos in the water.
Hippos in the water.
Nyala
Nyala

But then, our tracker made a great sighting. We saw the top two lions of the preserve, Mr. T (left) and another male (right) sleeping in the tall grass near the road. We would have never spotted them.

Apparently they had a big meal last night, as one of the male’s extended stomach would attest. He spent the entire encounter sleeping on has back. Occasionally his leg would twitch, or he’d stretch. But generally enjoyed being a fat and sleepy cat. A fat and sleepy cat that could kill us instantly if provoked, but reminiscent of a house-pet’s behavior none the same.

Sleeping Lion
Sleeping Lion
Mr. T
Mr. T

later in the drive we saw:

Zebra
Zebra
Giraffe
Giraffe

After a few hours we returned to camp for our second and third breakfasts. To help burn off the first breakfast we went for a bushwalk for an hour starting around 11:00.

Chewie took us on a short hike around the perimeter of the lodge. We were usually far enough away that we couldn’t see the buildings, but close enough should something happen. Unlike the game drives which took us far distances looking for large animals, this tour featured the little things. He pointed out the differences and importances of animal scat when tracking, various types of trees and their cultural differences. Below are a couple of notable trees. We learned quite a lot, and we think the Scots really took a lot a way from the hike.

Tawny eagle
Tawny eagle
Tawny eagle
Tawny eagle

After the walk we sat around lodge campus taking pictures of the vervet monkeys.

WA160742_edited

WA160748_edited

Afterwards we took a short nap in preparation for the evening game drive.

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