This week at Adonsonia (and Grietjie)

Winter has definitely arrived. The mornings are cold and the monkeys spend quite some time in the trees and on the lawn warming up in the sun before heading out to forage.

The warthogs are now once again regular visitors to our lawn, much to Michel’s dismay, but we also had a much more unusual visitor to the garden to browse some of our appetising bushes; a magnificent Nyala bull. We have only seen Nyala twice at the lodge and one of these times was on the trail cam. At first I thought it was a Kudu, but the horns were not quite right, and then I saw the yellow ‘socks’ and jumped up from the couch to grab my camera.

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He stayed with us for about an hour and was calm and relaxed, but if I hadn’t happened to look up and see him crossing the lawn we probably wouldn’t have even known he was there.

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And then on Friday I had another lucky sighting when I was driving back from the gate at dusk and a lioness suddenly appeared on the road in front of me! At first I didn’t recognise what it was in the fading light, but as soon as it registered I grabbed my phone for a picture.

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As per usual, I get the best sighting when I decide not to bring my camera, and this was definitely the case as just over the crest of the hill I found out that she was part of the “Grietjie mega-pride” and 7 of the cubs were playing on the road.

Two of the larger cubs passed by the vehicle, and when I let the car roll a bit to get closer to the cubs I heard surprised growls from behind the vehicle where they had decided to lay down for a rest!

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I spent about 10 minutes watching the cubs in the fading light when they suddenly got a call from their mother(s) and rushed past me. (I later heard that just a bit further on the lionesses made a kill and the pride had their dinner).

Michel was just 2 minutes ahead of me and missed them completely, once again proving that sightings are definitely a matter of “right place, right time”!