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bigcountry Jun 19th, 2005 04:37 PM

How many Predators have u seen?
With all these trip reports coming in over the last few weeks, and the report of seeing 30 differnt lions on 1 game drive, i got to thinking how many different predators i have seen. so i figured it would be fun to list the number of different lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dogs people have seen over the safari careers. especially with so many question coming up about where to go visit for upcoming safaris. trying to figure out brought back great memories for me so i'll start off. i am trying not to double count animals i have seen on previous occasions/game drives

Lions: 133 different lions (68 at mombo, 17 at savanna, 13 at vumbura, 12 at kings pool, 11 at duba plains, 8 at makololo plains, and 4 at kwando lagoon/lebala)

Leopards: 9 differnt leopards (6 at mombo, 2 at vumbura, 1 at kwando lebala)

Cheetahs: 9 different (3 at mombo, 3 at vumbura, 2 at kwando lagoon, and 1 at makololo plains)

Wild Dogs: 29 different dogs (15 at kwando lagoon, 8 at makololo plains, 4 at kings pool and 2 at mombo)

atravelynn Jun 19th, 2005 06:15 PM

Great idea! And it gives people who are considering different parks/camps an idea of what is possible.

Personally, I have not kept track of numbers, but I'd enjoy listing predators and where I've seen them.

Most, including cubs, numerous mating, hunting, and lions on kills-Masai Mara

Close 2nd, including cubs, and lions on kills-Mombo

Only lion in tree I ever saw-Ishasha region of Queen Elizabeth in Uganda

On foot-North Luangwa (Kutandala)

Most time spent with one pride-Busanga Plains in Kafue

Place I expected to see more but saw 2 in the day and 5 at night in 10 days over 2 separate visits both in July--South Luangwa

Best/most encounters, including cub, 5 leopards at one time, and a young female looking through my zipped tent netting-Mombo

Night drive views of a single leopard-Linyanti, Lewa Downs, South Luangwa on two occasions, Hwange

Day viewing of a single leopard-Masai Mara, South Luangwa, Tarangire

On foot-South Luangwa

Most, including cubs and a kill-Masai Mara

Best photo ops and most at one time which was 6-Mombo

Closest encounter in which a young cheetah climbed onto the vehicle and gave my face a light lick. These were 1994 cubs of Queen who was filmed for BBC’s Big Cat Diary--Mara

Place I expected to see more but saw only 1 in July-Serengeti

Biggest surprise sighting-Nairobi National Park, back in 1994

Pleasant surprise-Ngorongoro Crater, saw two on a kill with hyena interaction

Wild dogs:
Mombo at the den in Aug, 1997 and a split-off pack of 4, also saw them at a distance in 1998

South Luangwa on a night drive in July

Mara-saw 2 pairs of 2 and a single one over several days near dusk

Mombo-mother peeking out of den

Mara-good view of female in morning, then male in afternoon

Busanga Plains in Kafue-2 at a distance
Lunga in Kafue-1 at a great distance on foot

Mana Pools-1 at a distance on foot

South Luangwa-1 on night drive

African Wildcat:
Mombo-relaxed, photographable
Mara-on the move

Honey Badger:
(They may not technically be predators, but they sure are aggressive)
South Luangwa-7 all at night
Lower Zambezi-4, 2 in the day and 2 on a walk that walked with us for over 5 minutes at 15 yards
Busanga Plains in Kafue-1 in the day

All over but the best den encounter was in Ngorongoro Crater

You're right, Bigcountry, about the memories!

Roccco Jun 19th, 2005 07:17 PM


Do you recall which month you visited Kwando Lagoon?

I am really struggling whether or not to include Kwando Lagoon in my itinerary. I do think it would possibly offer me my best opportunity to see wild dogs from what I have read in their monthly reports.

If I then followed up Kwando Lagoon with Duma Tau, my chances for wild dogs may double.

A general question about the wild dogs you have you find them to be more apprehensive to the gameviewing vehicle than lions? On average, how long do you think the viewing period was for the dogs? I mean with lions they more than likely just lie there all day long. What about with dogs?

As far as predators go, I have not kept accurate records.

If crocodiles qualify as a predator, I literally saw HUNDREDS of crocs per day at Kaingo in South Luangwa, sometimes 30-40 within sight at one time, sunning themselves on the river banks.

I have had my best leopard sightings, thus far, at Singita.

I have seen the most hyenas, thus far, spread out all throughout South Luangwa.

I have seen cheetah only at Singita.

I have seen about equal lion sightings between the Sabi Sand and South Luangwa.

So far I have not been fortunate enough to see wild dogs.

As far as lesser known predators, I have seen a great variety of smaller cats in South Luangwa.

My best encounter to date occurred on my very first game drive ever while at Singita. A pride of lions had killed a good sized buffalo, and we arrived on the scene shortly afterward. There were about 6 - 8 lions and we watched intently as they fed on the buffalo. We were not more than 15-20 feet away from the lions and the sounds of the lions crunching on the bones is one that I will not soon forget!

I am expecting big things out of my upcoming September safari as this will be my first true high season safari, and I have 15 nights split between some great game areas (at some pretty great lodges). I will definitely keep track from here on out. :)

linjudy Jun 19th, 2005 07:48 PM

This is a fun topic, though I'm not a safari veteran like you all. It would be fun to talk about the most interesting "interaction" by a predator.

In my one safari trip, that would be:

1) Seeing the leopard try to keep his impala kill against a pack of hyena, not by fighting, but by being opportunistic (Mombo)

2) The pack of wild dogs devour an impala in about 1 minute. And then seeing the alpha female nag at everyone to regurgitate for her (Duma Tau)

3) Watching the 19 lion cubs play with each other(Mombo)

Rocco, when we saw the dogs, they paid no attention to the truck at all, before and after they caught the impala. We watched them for about 45 minutes because their behavior was so fascinating.

safari274 Jun 19th, 2005 08:05 PM

I agree, great idea! And it does help those of us in the planning stages get an idea of what can be seen around what camps/areas.

atravelyn - Could you elaborate more on the leopard looking in your tent at Mombo and the cheetah cub in the Mara? I always find the really close or unusual encounters fascinating.

Kavey Jun 20th, 2005 04:54 AM

Oh my, I definitely don't have a record of this...

Leopards - one our first trip to Mombo in 2001 we saw one huge male (Burnt Ebony) plus two adult females, one called Bird Island and one called Maun Road Female. We spent hours and hours with each one, in close proximity and following them as they were on the move too. On the 2004 return to Mombo we saw one adult female, her 11 month old female cub plus another 11 month old male cub but not his mother. We didn't spend quite as long with them but a fairly long time with each.

Lions, well they are the most plentiful and we've seen many of them in Kenya and Botswana at the various camps. Only glimpsed in SOuth Africa as we stuck mostly to self-driving in national parks and predators are harder to spot since it's not hard for them to avoid the narrow bands on and near roads.

Cheetahs - I do adore these cats and we've seen them in Kenya (Kike and her cubs plus two nineyear old brothers (see and in Botswana (at Mombo, Savuti, Little Vumbura, Savuti etc. Best sightings were at Savuti and Mombo).

Wild dogs we saw first at Mombo in 2001, just a small pack of 3, we spent a few hours with them. Then at Savuti in 2004 we spent several hours with a pack of 14 or was it 16, I forget.

We have spotted a genet but not a caracal or civet or other smaller predators...

napamatt Jun 20th, 2005 09:14 AM

This takes some brain power!

Lions 108 (Mala Mala 41, Savuti 12, Sandibe 4, Chiefs 27, Lagoon 12, Mashatu 12, Makanyane 4)

Leopard (Mala Mala 19, Savuti 1, Sandibe 1, Chiefs 3, Lagoon 1, Mashatu 3)

Cheetah (Mala Mala 7, Chiefs 3, Lagoon 3, Makanyane 4)

Wild Dogs (Mala Mala 36, Savuti 4, Makanyane 5)

Honey Badgers - Lagoon, Mashatu, Sandibe

Serval - Lagoon

Caracal - Savuti

Aardwolf - Savuti


Dogs will generally hand around for a while if they have eaten. They pay little attention to the truck, but will wander up to take a look at you. They play a lot and make some of the best noises - chittering its called.

Our best interaction was watching Dogs at Mala Mala keep a couple of Hyenas holed up in a donga. The dogs would pretend to ignore the Hyenas who emboldened would start to try and leave, only for the dogs to turn on them and force them back into the gully.

Other highlights are Lion Cubs, Leopard Cubs stalking Mom and seeing the fouth generation of a Leoprad family.

sundowner Jun 20th, 2005 10:09 AM

I haven't kept a list of predators I have seen but I do have the distinct memory of one predator. We were on a game drive at MalaMala and saw a waterbuck about halfway up a hill. He was acting funny so the ranger wanted to see what was going on. We drove toward him and could see he was on alert and was watching something. We drove towards where he was looking and it was a young leopard. The waterbuck charged toward the leopard and the leopard ran away. We watch this event two or three times. A waterbuck chasing a leopard. CRazy! Finally the leopard ran into some brush and the waterbuck, satisfied with the job he had completed, went on his way.

girlpolo33 Jun 20th, 2005 01:18 PM

I've enjoyed reading everyone's postings! Some of my more unusual sightings:

Mother cheetah with two cubs at Singita. It was noteworthy, because a vet had darted and stitched up the mom after she had a disastrous encounter with a lion. The reserve seldom intervene's, but wanted to save the two cubs from death.

The 6 wild dog pups at Macatoo African Horseback camp were amazing. They were extremely curious about the vehicle and kept inching closer and closer, ending up about 12 feet from us. It was a magical encounter and one I won't soon forget.

Chitabe had good wild dog sightings and we also were treated to a caracal with cub.

One evening at Little Vumbura, the manager took us to a hyena den, where he had gained the trust of one of the pups. The 4-month old hyena would come up to the vehicle and sniff his boot. Needless to say, we got excellent video...not sure it was the best idea on the part of the camp manager.

While at Leopard Hills, we spent a week tracking mother leopard and her three cubs. The best part was watching the six-month old cubs drag things into the trees, practicing for future kills. They would often fall out of the trees, as well! While we were off on game drive, we received a message on the radio letting us know one of the cubs had wandered into the dining area of the lodge and was napping under a table! The cub was gone by the time we returned.

As I mentioned in my recent trip report, our most remarkable predator encounter occurred when a lion attacked the cape buffalo herd we were following while on horseback. The perimeter bulls chased the lion right toward us from a distance of about 30 yards! I'm still not sure what was more scary...the lion or the menacing horns of about 30 or 40 angry bulls.

All the camps had great lion sightings, several with lions feeding on their kills. Londolozi had the best leopard sightings, followed by Leopard Hills.

thit_cho Jun 20th, 2005 03:30 PM

While I don't have any records nor a good enough memory to recount quantity, I can give some qualitative accounts.

Lion -- plenty in the Masai Mara and Serengeti; a few in the Crater; two in Queen Elizabeth NP (Uganda); several in Kruger; a few at Chitabe and Savuti and Chobe riverfront; and a few at Etosha; several on a buffalo kill in S. Luangwa -- best lion sightings were in Masai Mara in August during migration and Ngorongoro

Cheetah -- several in Masai Mara and one in Serengeti; one in Etosha

Leopard -- one in Serengeti; two along ridge road in Ngorongoro; a few in Sabi Sands; and one at Chitabe

Spotted Hyena -- group of at least 25 in Masai Mara; and also seen running along road between Mfuwe Airport and South Luangwa

Wild Dog -- large group at Chitabe; lone dog in Chobe

Aardwolf -- Savuti (at beginning of morning game drive)

Caracal -- Savuti (at end of night drive)

Serval -- Savuti; Ngorongoro Crater

Jackals -- black backed, golden and side striped (plenty in Masai Mara and lots in Etosha -- different types in different parks)

African Wild Cats -- lots on night drive in Savuti


austkaye Jun 20th, 2005 06:13 PM

Dear Bigcountry,

What a challenge this was - it took a bit of work but well worth the effort because I am surprised at what I have seen since my first gameviewing in May 2000.

219 lions, lionesses and cubs - 4 at Samburu, 22 at Mara River, 46 at Chief's Camp, 8 at Stanleys Camp, 2 at Chobe,12 at Ngorongoro, 5 at Serengeti, 8 at Ulusaba, 12 at Thornybush, 19 at Singita, 81 at MalaMala.

29 cheetah - 1 at Mara River, 2 at Stanleys Camp, 9 at Serengeti,1 at Ulusaba, 5 at Singita, 11 at MalaMala.

52 leopard - 1 at Samburu, 1 at Serengeti, 7 at Ulusaba, 2 at Thornybush, 3 at Singita, 38 at MalaMala.

20 wild dog - 4 at Chief's Camp,16 at MalaMala.

I have spent a lot of time at MalaMala in the last few years and it really has been worth it considering the game I have seen there.


I also have seen that cheetah with the two cubs that you mention had a vet attending her after a lion attack in May 2002. I saw her in July 2002 at MalaMala, and the wound still looked bad, but it didn't stop her from hunting and did not seem to slow her down. I never saw again but she was mentioned in the MalaMala cyberdiary, and earlier this year, I believe that she was killed by lion on Londolozi. She was an unbelieavable cheetah in that she would take on anything, but she certainly had character, and I do believe that one cub survived to be an adult.


bigcountry Jun 20th, 2005 06:27 PM

we have gotten some great responses. its neat to see that the "big game" camps (mala mala, mombo etc) seem to live up to their reputations when u look at the totals.
austkaye, 38 different leopards at mala mala since 2000, thats unbelievable. u sure you arent seeing the same animals on return visits? hehe.

rocco, to answer your question about wild dogs. they are very relaxed around vehicles. equal too if not more so than lions. at kwando on 2 separate occasions we followed along on the hunt and the dogs fanned out all around us and led us on a couple of fantastic rides. a steenbok kill and a kudu kill where they drove the kudu into a lagoon and eventually swam in after it and made the kill. teh reason wild dogs are my favorite animal to view is because they are much more active than the cats. u wont have to sit with them too long before they are on the move. usually hunting 1-2 times a day and playing around a lot of the other time. pretty amazing to watch such small predators be so successful against much bigger prey/other predators.
we went to kwando in junw 2000 and the dogs were denning so we found them without much difficulty every morning and night. we just needed to make sure we got there before they headed out to hunt.

atravelynn Jun 20th, 2005 07:16 PM


To elaborate on the leopards:

The leopard looking in the tent occured in Aug 1997 at Little Mombo. It was right after I had settled in for the night. The tent netting was zipped but the canvas was still pulled back and tied. The young female walked up the path to the tent, silhouetted by the lantern. Then she stopped outside the tent with her nose on the netting and looked in for about a minute and walked away. Lesson learned: always have the tent zipped.

The leopard cub was first spotted in August 1998 at Mombo. There were midday activities if you wished to do them at Mombo. My friend and I opted for a noon drive and were put with a "guide" who had just arrived from the city and knew nothing and could barely drive the vehicle. I think he had connections and we were to be his practice run. So between my friend, me and the inexperienced driver we set out as the 3 safari stooges looking for game.

But we worked together and found leopard tracks with nearby blood. We followed the tracks that appeared to drag a carcass to a thicket. Then we surveyed the trees and eventually spotted the carcass between some branches. Further inspection revealed the mother, and then finally the cub. We had great views of the 9-month old cub in the tree.

After awhile the cub descended and stalked a baby elephant until the mother elephant came stampeding to her baby's rescue and chased off the leopard cub.

The three of us who had left as 3 safari stooges proudly returned to camp as triumphant game trackers. I don't think some of the other guests believed what we had found.

Later the mother leopard dropped off the cub with the father, not a normal activity as male leopards are known to kill their cubs. We observed the cub with its dad in a tree eating an antelope the dad had killed for it. This was apparently common at Mombo. They told me that there were even leopard family reunions of several generations at times at Mombo.

girlpolo33 Jun 20th, 2005 07:25 PM

Kaye, thanks for the update on the brave mother cheetah. I was happy to hear that one of the cubs survived. Clearly, every day is a battle for survival for these magnificent animals.

austkaye Jun 20th, 2005 07:33 PM

Dear bigcountry,

yes, this is true - 38 different leopards at MalaMala - but take into consideration that I have been there 6 times and on average I stay there 14 nights. So it really isn't too surprising that I see so many because the longer I am there, the more likely I am to see more of everything. I can never see too many animals while gameviewing, and I do keep a written record as when I get back home, if you see a couple of leopard one after another, unfortunately I do not yet have the skill to recognize them by look. Although in saying that about a week ago I was watching Mad Mike and Mark, a show on Animal Planet, and they were in the Sabi Sands north of MalaMala, and they were photographing a female calling her cub, and as soon as the cub appeared, I recognized it as the son of the White Cloth Female, as he has an extremely distincitve tail from an accident when he was a few months old. It was funny to see a leopard that I knew on TV, except of course for the Rock Drift Male who has a special just about him.



PredatorBiologist Jun 20th, 2005 10:12 PM

Fun to recall. I would point out that numbers are not always the entire story as there are places that have more lions spotted (due to bigger prides)than Duba Plains but no where that features as much consistent daytime action!

21 wild dogs on an Impala kill -- Duma Tau

48 lions total
14 (12 males) lions at Duba Plains including 9 males from two prides having a stand off and another incident where the Duba Boys each jumped about a 14 foot channel of water to chase an intruding male, 16 lions at Mombo, 2 lions at Duma Tau, 13 at Etosha, 3 at Ongava

1 leopard Duma Tau

1 serval Duma Tau

13 hyena -- 8 hyena Duma Tau, 5 hyena Mombo

numerous African Wildcat in Botswana and Namibia

Kavey Jun 20th, 2005 11:59 PM

Oooh and I forgot - we saw leopards mating right next to camp when we were staying at Tubu Tree in 2004. We were eating our soup one evening and heard the calls of leopards nearby, abandoned the soup and soon saw one leopard just a short distance away from the bar platform. Not long afterwards a second leopard joined the first, they had a quick sexual encounter and then sloped off into the darkness together!

wallybrenda Jun 21st, 2005 07:34 AM

Based on only trip to Botswana we saw more lions than any other predator.

4 lions
3 cheetah ( saw them all three days)
1 spotted Genet

7 lions

Chief's Camp:
12 lions, one lone hyena

This is a great topic as I am trying to figure out where our next African Vacation will be. Was thinking of Zambia but after reading this thread Kenya and Tanzania are looking good as well.


santharamhari Jun 2nd, 2006 10:09 PM

Don't know how i missed this thread.....

Here goes......

Lions.....didnt count, but......

Most lions: Serengeti August 2002
Close second: Mara around the migration August/sept 2002; Mara July 2001

Lots of lions: Mombo 2004; Duba 2004

quality sightings:20 different lions Kwara camp, December 2005

Lions mating: Malamala November 2004

Where i expected to see lions, but didnt see a single one: Lebala over 4 nights end November 2005 (ironically, one of my fav camps); Kings Pool (not a single one 2004)

Just one brief glimpse at Lion Sands (Feb 2003).....trespassing into Sabi Sabi traversing zone......

serval: 2 daytime sightings Governors camp (2002) and Lebala (2005)

Wildcat: Many on night drives (Lebala and Kwara 2005)

Leopard: first one was the famous Zawadi from Big cat diary in the Mara (2002) along with her cub.

Serengeti (2002)

Many leopards: Lionsands and Mala mala (2003 and 2004), including the Hlurani male

Best leopard sightings: Mombo 2004 (including a huge male in daylight)

skittish leopards: Duba Plains 2004, Kwara 2005


3 different cheetahs Mara 2001
Keke and cubs 2002 (Mara)

Lion sands (same female seen over a 3 night stay).....awesome sightings!!!

Mombo (2004.....female cheetah)
Savuti bros (2004 seen close to duma tau), when they were 3 boys

Saw them again (2 of them) while at Lebala 2005

Female cheetah with sub-adult cubs between lagoon and lebala 2005

Wild dogs: My only sighting was at Kings pool 2004 (saw the large pack)

Brown Hyena: Jack's camp 2004

Spotted hyena: everywhere.....most in Kwando concession!!!


Kavey Jun 3rd, 2006 01:27 AM

And I forgot the aardwolf we saw at Wolwedans, Namibia too...

safarilover Jun 3rd, 2006 04:04 AM


When you spent time with the lion pride on the Busanga Plains, was Dorian Tilbury your guide?

chelsea2 Jun 3rd, 2006 07:32 AM

What a great thread! From my recently completed first trip in May 2006 (by the way it feels great to finally have something to contribute rather than just reading!):

Lions: Total = 67
Mombo - Total = 39 (2 different prides - 17 females and cubs plus 2 large males and 20 females and older cubs - feeding on a zebra mother and foal)
Jao - Total = 4 (2 females, 2 males)
Singita - Total = 24 (pride of 24 adults, sub-adults and cubs - lounging and hunting)

Leopard - Total =4
Jao- 3- male adult in tree, mother and cub feeding on steenbuck
Singita - 1
Mombo- 0

Cheetah - Total = 5
Jao - 0
Mombo - 1 male
Singita/Londolozi - 4 - mother with 3 cubs

Hyena - 8
Jao- 0
Mombo- 7 - mother with 2 cubs, 2 waiting at lion feeding, dead hyena, one running through field

Jackal - 7
Skeleton Coast - 4 black backed jackals hunting for cape fur seal pups at Cape Friel
Mombo - 2
Singita - 1

I look forward to trying to see some of the smaller cats that you all have seen on my next as yet to be planned trip.

napamatt Jun 3rd, 2006 07:36 AM

Since my initial post on this thread. I have been to Mombo, Kings Pool and Mala Mala twice, so my totals have increased.

Mombo 21 Lions (Mathata pride)
More new leopards particularly at Mala Mala, but 3 at Kings Pool
Dogs - 16 including pups at KP

santharamhari Jun 6th, 2006 10:33 PM

In addition to my previous post.......i forgot to mention different jackals....

Black-backed jackal (everywhere)
Side-striped jackal (several)
Golden jackal (crater)


KIBOKO Jun 23rd, 2006 03:44 PM

On our 18 day Safari in February to East Africa we saw the following predators:

Lions 65: Mostly the Serengeti Lions with kill, mating, and cubs Also Ndutu and Samburu

Leopards 4: Ndutu and Samburu. Leopard going up a tree retrieving his wildebeest kill and dragging it through the brush

Cheetah 12: Ndutu, Serengeti, Crater,

matnikstym Jun 23rd, 2006 04:17 PM

October South Luangwa:
Wild dogs-pack of 21, seen twice. the truck didn't seem to bother them at all, one came up to the truck, looked in and sniffed, the others continued playing and 1 ran off after an impala but came back empty handed
October Lower Zambezi
Lion-15, 2 different prides, 1 cub with 1 pride, 2 with the other
Leopard-1 fleeting glimpse
Wild dogs-0
March South Luangwa
Leopards-2 fleeting glimpses, 1 who posed for a bit
Wild dogs-0
Hyena-1 (how come I never see more than 1 hyena at a time?!!)

santharamhari Jun 23rd, 2006 08:15 PM


Good question......very strange situation, why just one hyena??? and you've spent quite a significant number of days on each trip to both SL and LZ. Also noted, in October (peak of the dry season) you only saw very few lions in SL.


santharamhari Jun 23rd, 2006 08:16 PM

But, you more than made up for the lions by seeing the, i guess well worth it!!!


Roccco Jun 23rd, 2006 09:07 PM


You are leaving out one of Zambia's most notorious predators...the Nile Crocodile. How many Nile Crocodiles have you seen on each trip?

As far as hyenas go, for some reason I have had better luck, probably seeing in the double digits on each of my trips to South Luangwa. While at Kaingo in June 2004, there even seemed to be one that wanted to make a dash into the kitchen while food was being prepared.

My best leopard viewing in Zambia has been in the Chichele/Puku Ridge area, although while out on my first game drive with Barry at Luangwa River Lodge last September we did follow a leopard and see it make a puku kill shortly afterward, dragging the kill up a tree within seconds. Not more than 10 seconds later, the first hyena was on the scene and within five minutes there were a total of four or five hyenas surrounding the tree, but the leopard was far too high up the tree so the hyenas soon went on their way.

My best predator viewing has taken place in the Ndutu area of Tanzania and the Ngorongoro Crater, but my heart is still in Zambia.

santharamhari Jun 23rd, 2006 10:26 PM


I's about luck and being at the right place at the right time.

For example, Last year November/December i was in the Kwando concession for a whole week......plenty of hyenas/great cheetah activity, but not one single lion due to heavy rains the entire time. Bad timing and rotten luck!!! Still, IMO...i rate Lebala my absolute favourite camp in Botswana........(and i have been to Mombo and seen all the animals there)


kmactravel Jun 24th, 2006 12:35 AM

Wow, everyone has seen so much on their trips. That's great. Although i can't count or keep track of how many of each of the predators I've seen, I know it's been a lot. This last trip to Kenya seeing those lions sleeping and lounging atop the umbrella acacia trees has to top my list of predators.

Last year in Botswana spending hours in the Okavango Delta watching one leopard sleep and laze around. I mean who gets a kick out of seeing an animal sleep, pose, and laze around. I do!

matnikstym Jun 24th, 2006 07:33 AM

Oh yeah, we did see hundreds of Nile crocs, the biggest probably 8-10 feet long. Saw one come out of a culvert while we were watching a leopard, the leopard saw the croc, the croc saw the leopard and started running (if crocs can run) towards the leopard, finally the leopard took off with the croc in pursuit. that would have been a fight to see!

Roccco Jun 24th, 2006 08:23 AM

I saw the most fascinating Wild Kingdom this week, titled something like Hippos vs. Crocs, and it was all shot on location in South Luangwa, Zambia. It was an intriguing program and it pitted crocs vs. hippos in many different categories before finally declaring one of them the winner.

One thing I had never known before and was able to see due to underwater cameras was that these huge Nile Crocodiles walk on their tiptoes when sneaking up on their prey. Plus they have these "pressure points" that almost look like black freckles and this helps them gauge the distance they are from their prey that is drinking water at the banks of the river.

Walking on their tiptoes prevents the sand on the river bottom from being disrupted, thus tipping off their prey.

Although it was extremely frightening, and the only highlight of an otherwise disappointing first trip to Lower Zambezi, just for the opportunity to canoe through the narrow channels of the area, it was well worth the trip (I was at Kulefu at the very beginning of the season, and like the Nsefu area of South Luangwa, this area does not get strong gameviewing until later in the season). Each time as we approached, crocs from either side of us would jump in the water from the river banks (sometimes some would get quite airborne if they were on a high enough river bank!) and while I theorized it was because they were scared of us, my guide had an entirely different theory...they were just waiting until we fell in the water so they would have an easily caught lunch!

But the crocs were really not that scary, especially not when compared to the hippos. On perhaps a dozen occasions, the dominant bull of the hippo pod placed himself square in the middle of our path, while all of the other hippos had parted to allow us passage. Often times the dominant bull would go underwater and we had no way to know where he was. Sometimes he would arise from the exact same spot and other times he would arise from 50+ feet in any direction, including a couple times within 3-5 meters from the canoe! Just another element, along with the true walking safari, that makes Zambia an incredible safari destination.

CarlaM Sep 2nd, 2006 09:50 PM

Wow, this is an impressive thread! I hope to be able to add to it one day.

I am watching "Predators at War" at the moment (the hyena clan at Mala Mala). Amazing how close up this guy Kim got to them. Interesting to learn that the females are the dominate ones and that they have that unusual male body part that no one can explain.

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