Ivory Lodge, Hwange, Zimbabwe. Day 3

Even before we arrived at the park, we saw a cheetah standing beside the road. It was staring at some kudu on the other side of us. We watched as it stalked closer and closer to its unsuspecting prey, before suddenly running at them. Fortunately for the kudu, the cheetah missed, and they escaped.

We carried on into the park where Peter thought there might be lion. We weren’t disappointed; he spotted them crossing an open piece of ground.

We followed the lion as they headed for their waterhole

 These four females were playing like kittens as they drank

We stayed to watch the lions that, once sated, sloped off into the bush, so we continued with our drive. We stopped off at the same waterhole where we had seen a cheetah the previous day. Peter turned off the engine and scanned the horizon. He noticed a very large baboon, sitting on top of an anthill, barking loudly. He told us this was a warning cry, and that it meant a predator was nearby. Sure enough, we spotted it hiding among some rocks under a tree. Apparently, a troop of baboons can frighten cheetahs away, so when they hear the bark, the baboons gather together ready for the chase.

The gathering of the troop

We couldn’t believe our luck, it was the same cheetah we had seen the day before.

It crossed the savanna…

…and once again strolled nonchalantly in front of our vehicle…

…before making for the shade of his favourite tree.

We noticed zebra and impala edging nervously towards the water, and so did the cheetah. It sat upright and stared at them.  But obviously decided not to take on the baboons, and flopped down again.

We had been so privileged to see all the game we did, and to have such a knowledgeable, and enthusiastic guide. And lest you imagine that this is some small park, with captive animals, Hwange National Park is 14,651 square kilometres in size, and all these animals are wild, and in their natural habitat.

That evening, Joel, the Manager of Ivory Lodge, organised dinner for us under the stars.

 What a lovely way to spend our evening

Everyone had fun.

It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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