Lions of lockdown


During the past month or so, the lions of lockdown (as we call them) have probably been the most entertaining, with constant sightings of them at the lodge, patrolling their territory and vocalising. The original coalition of males, all related from the same pride, have split into two groups: a pair of four-to-five-year-old males with dark manes, and a pair of three-year-olds.

The annual rut

The winter chills have finally arrived, and with it, the change in season that signals a change in behaviour called the annual rut. This refers to the mating season of certain species, and most of the antelope here are starting their annual rut.

The most iconic animal during the rut must be the impala rams. They completely lose all interest in any personal maintenance, including eating, drinking, and cleaning their coats – they only have the succession of their bloodline in mind … During this period, they actively defend small territories and herd females. Their deep, bellowing grunts noises could make any safari enthusiast think a lion is close by.

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) in the front, and impala (Aepyceros melampus) at the back are all preparing for the annual rut.

Significant sightings

The two cheetah males have also been seen around the Black Rhino Game Lodge this month, but always on the move. They successfully brought down a male blue wildebeest together but, after stuffing themselves, they were chased off by some hyenas.

Interestingly, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is the only cat that cannot completely retract its claws. Even when retracted, the claws remain visible and are used for grip during the cheetah’s acceleration and maneuvering.

As the sun sets on our first five weeks of lockdown here at Buffalo Thorn Lodge and we prepare to enter Alert Level 4, we wish all our previous and future visitors happiness and good health wherever you may find yourself, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

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