Tuesday, April 28, 2009

23 Feb (Mon)

We heard lions roaring very close to camp all night. This was the loudest we have heard it since we have been here. They were the huge, guttural, blood curdling roars of two male lions, not the significantly less intense roars of the lionesses that we had been hearing most frequently. At 4 am Keita was awake (as usual) and I was lying with her while she was having her bottle when the lions started roaring again. They sounded like they were in Graham’s tent. Keita stopped sucking immediately and listened, very wide-eyed, to the noise. Once it had stopped she turned to me and said “It’s a rhino”. It occurred to me that she had never consciously heard a lion roar before. I told her it was a lion and she went back to sleep easily, but half an hour later woke up screaming “the lions are coming to get me”.  She spent the remainder of the evening in our bed.

Early in the morning we heard the vervet monkeys alarm calling in the trees fringing the camp. Brad radioed to say that they had been with the lions just behind the camp but were now leaving the sighting to go and find the buffalo herd further north. He casually mentioned that the male lion was lying on the anthill watching the camp and focused on the sights and sounds here, and that we should keep our eyes open and turn on the electric fence (which happened to be not working on that day).

Soon afterwards the vervet monkeys started leaping around and alarm calling and the impalas were running and snorting so we knew the lions were on the move. This was all too much excitement for Amanda (a friend who was visiting us) who didn’t dare venture to the longdrop the entire day. Eventually she made a public announcement that she was going for a wee in the potty in her tent and instructed us all to keep a close eye on the tent at while she did so, just in case something snuck up on her.

In the afternoon we took the opportunity to drive to the herd of buffalo which were camped out at Gnu Poo Pan, even thought they were just lying around in great brown heaps. Keita still has difficulty distinguishing buffalos from cows and is puzzled by the enthusiasm we show for these ‘brown cows’ when we drive past the other ones all the time in Maun without a second glance. She loves cows and goats more than anything though, so was very happy to see them.

Rio calls impala speedbuck for some reason, an apt name I think, and Keita calls them Mepalas. 

Mouse is doing well, apart from a bit of diarrhea. He is scoffing his Pro-Nutro and Mouse-Mother Frannette diligently rubs his tummy and bum after every feed. Rio and Keita love and adore him above all else, even me. 

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