When you head out on your safari experience of a lifetime, have you ever stopped a moment and wondered what life is like for the rangers who experience the glories of African wildlife up close and personal as part of their ‘day job’? These remarkable individuals, who make it possible for us to safely and expertly navigate the African bush and drink in its glorious sights, have a job that’s unpredictable, beautiful and exciting. This week, we caught up with one of our experienced ranger team for a ‘sneak peek’ into a day on the job.

Up before sunrise

It’s pretty typical to head out into the bush very early with the first game drive of the day, despite the occasional groan from the more sleepy of our guests, but nothing a strong coffee in the glories of the early-morning bush air won’t fix!
Predominantly all animals avoid the pressing heat of the African sun by moving around early in the day or late in the evenings, so we time our bush wonderings accordingly.

Lions typically start their hunts as dusk falls, and since we were unable to locate the pride the night before we hoped to strike it lucky in the early morning- which today we were and what a spectacular sight to see, the last feeding of the previous night’s hunt.

We had heard that the previous evening there had been lion activity in the southeastern portion of our property, which was thought to be of a new pride visiting our area, and thus were excited to go investigate. Once we arrived in the area we immediately noticed multiple trees carry the weight of many vultures of all different species, the kill was something big and we knew we were heading for success. We discovered a giraffe kill surrounded by those waiting for their chance at the carcass- silent stealthy black-backed jackals, excited hyenas and a swarm of vultures! But to our great disappointment no sign of the pride.

We were blessed with white-backed, hooded, white-headed and Cape vultures, the latter two so-called ‘great’ vultures, with the Cape vulture posing beautifully for us to make the all-important comparisons between them and the white-backed vultures. White-headed vulture in particular are a dominant and aggressive species, first at their scavenged kills and efficient hunters when called on to hunt. Their massive wingspan carries them far in search of food daily. These unsung heroes of the bush are such a critical part of the African landscape that vulture conservancy is a major focus for us, making this sighting a particular pleasure.

Whilst watching the nervous and daring jackals and hyenas dart in to steal titbits from the carcass, and the vultures squabbling and fighting for prime position on the ribcage, we were suddenly confronted with a barrage of wings as a blonde-maned male lion stormed in from the undergrowth to chase the scavengers away from his quarry!
After great observation of the undergrowth we discovered a second darker maned male lion watching the scavengers feast away. Unfortunately, the males gave up the fight with the scavengers and strolled into the bush leaving their stolen kill.

After examining the tracks around the area, we believe that it was in fact the pride that brought the giraffe down, engorged on it during the evening and where chased of their kill by the two unknown male lions that morning.

After some time we decided to move on and leave the mayhem of the carcass, flashing teeth and flapping wings. As we slowly started making our way back to camp we had a special treat, as we came across a crash of 6 white, the perfect way to finish off the morning.

The afternoon awaits

Our late afternoon/dusk drive was quieter than the morning, but we were still blessed with wildebeest, magnificent bull kudu, more rhino and some hyena sightings.

After some time we decided to move on and leave the mayhem of the carcass, flashing teeth and flapping wings. As we slowly started making our way back to camp we had a special treat, as we came across a crash of 6 white, the perfect way to finish off the morning.

With their eerie, almost human cries, there’s little wonder they feature so heavily in traditional African mythologies. This trip finished off with some adorable bush babies as we headed back to camp.

Why not come and experience the wealth of knowledge of our rangers for yourself with a Bateleur Eco Safari experience?