|Lake Magadi, Ngorongoro|
Midday, north Serengeti. It’s hot. In a thick tangle of branches atop a nearby rock, we can just make out a patch of patterned fur. A resting leopard. We wait. There is a rustle in the bush and a lithe shape emerges onto the rock nearby, followed by second animal. With a mix of flirtatiousness and much snarling and apparent ill will, they mate in the typically perfunctory manner of large cats. Within minutes, they mate again – and then again. But the level of hostility doesn’t abate one jot.
(Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa9Kk2nZmeo)
Crossing season is in full swing, with herds lining up on the river bank, jostling and shoving, pouring down the bank and into the water. A chaotic scene of dust and pounding hooves, the animals hurling themselves into the river, eyes wide with fear during the swim, then emerging dripping at the far side before running off once more over the plain. Some youngsters decide to cross back again - a croc slides into the water, easily overtakes a straggler... there is a lunge, a brief swirl, and the brown water closes over the swimmer's head.
|Mara River - crossing|
|Crossing the river|
Kogakuria, early morning. We heard lions roaring as we set off, so we are trying to track them down. We try one set of rocks, where we estimate the sound came from but no joy. Then Jairo spots them, distant specks in the huge Serengeti landscape. They appear to be on the move - hunting? But all have full bellies. There is a fresh kill nearby and one small lioness has blood on her neck. One by one, the ladies move off, until we are left with two adult males and the small lioness. Suddenly, mayhem – the males attack the female, who defends herself ferociously, lashing out at them. They circle her, looking for an opening, as she crouches, ears laid back against her skull, snarling and spitting. They move in again and she launches herself at them, a blur of whirling claws and teeth. The males roar at the morning sky, then move off, leaving her to lick her wounds.
(Lion fight video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ4dak3Qoxw)
|Martial Eagle on Egyptian Goose kill|
|Lamai Wedge, North Serengeti|