Article and Images By Warwick Hattingh
After a delicious lunch, we ventured on an afternoon game drive from hippo valley camp. We watched a big elephant bull making his way through the river bed then some giant giraffe feeding, a herd of impala wandering, a warthog and a few kudu in the acacia forest – nothing out of the ordinary. The lowveld heat was becoming bearable and as we continued our drive to the Malilangwe side and the Banyen area we found a herd of 400 to 450 buffalo to the left of us and herds of zebra, wildebeest and impala on the right – like a scene from Beautiful People.
The Hippo Valley Experience Gallery
Looking just to the right of the mountain of dark horns was a giraffe bull that was looking at something intently. Two cheetah stretched and walked out from the yellow grass and strolled across the plains. We couldn’t believe our luck. And in the next breath, we heard a lion in the tree line, a big male as we saw when he came out, and he walked through the zebra and impala who were barking at him. Unperturbed, he lay down for a rest right next to us as the golden sun was setting and the impala and zebra turned their heads away and went back to grazing.
We moved off this spectacular scene to see some rhino but as we neared them, we heard on the radio that the cheetah were hunting a baby impala. We raced passed an elephant bull, but when we arrived the speedy cheetah were already eating their catch with the impala herd nowhere to be seen.
While we watched the cheetah, three rhinos were standing under a tree. A big cloud of dust rose and some bellowing sounded out and the bull rhino started to charge at some dagga boys who were coming to the pan for a drink! We had an action-packed day in the bush with the big four, only just missing the leopard. We went and had sundowners at the pan with a lion, a hyena and her pup and the buffalo.
The lion finished drinking while we had another and he walked no more than 30 meters away, right past us with his nose in the air on his way to the cheetah kill, we presumed. We left him walking and began making our way home again. What a privilege it is to live in Africa.
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