A large pride of lion, lion stalking a hyena, the rare roan antelope, leopard and of course a lion kill – it’s all here, and seen on one epic safari to Savute Safari Lodge. This month’s featured guest post is from Michael Jansen who recounts his safari adventures to Savute Safari Lodge with us.
If you are a fan of Instagram and follow our account (@desertdelta), you would have seen several of Michael’s featured images. You can also follow him on Instagram for a daily dose of his safari memories. So without further ado, here is our featured guest post of the month. Enjoy…
It was on my second trip to Botswana and the Desert & Delta Safaris when I was able to take these shots of the Savute Marsh Pride of Lions in the end of 2016. What a wonderful memory of the holidays with my better half Monique! We were at Savute Safari Lodge and it was an awesome time. The place where most of the photos shown were taken was located on the fringes of the famous Savute Marsh area and my wife and I were out for a morning game drive with our guide Metal after a lovely breakfast at the lodge.
Metal discovered a lonely lioness nearby a man-made waterhole. Then, after driving a few hundred meters further in direction of the open marshland, we saw the rest of the pride next to some shrubs. The lionesses and their cubs laid down and except some head lifting of certain individuals there was no action at all.
We left the location to see more of the beautiful nature of the Savute area.
On the next day, right after breakfast we, directly headed towards exactly that location where we saw the pride the day before. A big male seems to have joined the pride, always focused on one particular lioness. He always sought intimacy to her. The whole pride enjoyed the early morning sun next to a big puddle, where most of the cubs played around near the other lionesses.
Then, all of a sudden, we were surprised seeing another predator. Metal mentioned my name and pointed to a bush a few hundred meters away and while I was still figuring out what he saw, he turned the car towards the animal. Then I saw her, my first Savute hyena! A beautiful animal, greyish-brown colored with lots of reddish spots and she was slowly sniffing around the bushes, possibly trying to scavenge from a feast the night before that happened here?
She was wary, looking around, surely knowing she was deep in lion territory. Every now and then she lifted her head, looking left and right, standing, only her ears moving for a few heartbeats before bending down again, sniffing. I readied my camera, too, trying to get her when looking up again while finally taking a morning bath in a big puddle of water. A group of lionesses obviously got aware of the intruder. The four or five females swarmed out.
The hyena froze for a moment, assessing the situation, looking around. The lionesses, knowing they were controlling the situation with their numbers, did not haste. After a moment of silence, a roar was heard and the lionesses all of a sudden advanced towards the hyena, running fast. It was an amazing chasing scene with a good number of large predators involved. I couldn’t resist, lifted my camera and did a few shots of the action.
The lionesses drove the hyena off and on their way back, they got back into their relaxed, muscular trotting walk.
On the next day, we were in good company when we came back to the lions: A filming crew of the Natural History Film Unit Botswana, that was making a documentary for a television network joined our car. The seasoned adventurers loaded up quite some gear for high definition filming, supposedly for the second season of the ‘Savage Kingdom‘ on National Geographic.
At the same day and in the same area, we departed once more to the sunset game drive, Metal pointed to a Marsh Pride lioness with a keen interest in some Impala antelopes she spotted in the distance. She went into stalk mode and approached towards the herd.
Being close enough, she started the chase, being filmed again by the NHFU cameraman. A few seconds later she gave up after she tried to follow a baby Impala, but she failed. Even the Impala lamb was too fast for her.
We left the scene and drove back to our lodge to have a beautiful dinner at the viewing deck, watching elephants at the waterhole.
On our last morning at Savute Safari Lodge we arrived again at the location after we had a beautiful leopard sighting first.
The lions had managed to kill a young zebra. The cameraman was already there and witnessed the kill. He told us the complete story about a group of zebras wandering through this area during sunrise. The lions turned out the young fowl being the weakest animal and a potential prey candidate for breakfast. They chased the zebra and finally caught it.
As we arrived on the carcass, the big male lion claimed the zebra for himself and the cubs. Any attempt of the lionesses to come close had been thwarted by the male with a lot of growling. They were only allowed to feed on this carcass until the cubs’ and the male’s hunger was satisfied.
After the carcass has been finally finished by the pride, they began walking towards a big puddle to quench their thirst.
With this sighting our trip eventually ends, and we began travelling home with heavy hearts.
Thank you Michael for sharing your exceptional images and story with our followers. For more information on Savute, visit the Savute Region on our website.
If you have travelled with us on a recent safari and want to share your stories with us, please mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share your amazing sightings with our readers.