Two reasons to celebrate this morning: Firstly, a drizzle of merciful rain pitter pattered on the drought-stricken soil last night, and secondly, the Hercules Pride emerged from their secretive lives to greet nThambo Tree Camp and Africa on Foot guests on game drive! This pride has a reputation for being quite shy, so when we bumped into them on our property, we were pleasantly surprised and very well rewarded. Two lionesses and 4 youngsters make up the Hercules Pride, and we’ve enjoyed catching up with them every so often, but we know from experience that they flee under the best of circumstances! Luckily, it looks like the last few months in hiding have given the Hercules Pride some confidence, because this morning’s sighting of them was nice and relaxed… By Hercules standards…
nThambo ranger, Bjorn, set out on game drive this morning with a little light rainfall to keep his guests company, and it didn’t take long before a series of fantastic sightings emerged from the rehydrated bush. Elephants appeared to be celebrating the presence of rain (as are we all), and a herd of buffalo was also spotted moving through the area adding to the morning’s big game features! The lions were, perhaps, the cherry on top, especially considering the last sighting we’ve had of this pride was about 3 months ago when they fought with the Ross Breakaway lionesses and left them worse for wear. Prior to that, Africa on Foot was treated to the pride on a buffalo kill right outside camp in December last year.
There has been a lot of exciting activity in the Klaserie with the arrival of Mabande, then the Mapoza males, and the tension was felt by the Ross Breakaway lionesses who ended up in a scuffle with the Mapozas over a kudu kill. The Hercules Pride, however, has been lying low, but as it turns out, all is well, and those 4 cubs are hardly cubs at all! Three males and one female cub (sired by one of the Trilogy males) are looking fantastic, and the lionesses are as strong and ferocious as ever. Towards the end of a very enjoyable sighting, the noticeably enormous lioness we have come to expect a bit of aggression from decided she didn’t like the vehicles starting up and gave us a bit of snarl.
Africa on Foot guests were out on game drive instead of their usual morning walking safari due to the weather, and it looks like they got lucky! The Hercules Pride is always a magnificent sight, and as we’ve mentioned, they disappear as quickly as they pop up, so this game drive in the rain was well worth it. This afternoon, stations are ready to track down the ever-elusive pride and hopefully we’ll have an update for you later!