Lions munching on a zebra they had killed in Etosha National Park, Namibia. Spotted hyenas pacing up and down in frustration at not getting a piece of the action. Jackals patrolling the perimeter. It has all the elements of a blockbuster sighting. Yet no one saw them but us. How is that possible?
There was a reason it was being so wary, so we scanned the area. You have to be alert to animal behaviour if you’re going to get the best out of your game viewing opportunities.
Although the action was too far away for good photographs, it was absorbing to watch the interactions between the various animals.
Over the next two hours, the spotties got more and more anxious, getting closer and closer in the hope of bagging some nosh. One of the lions would snarl or get to its feet and the spotties would back off again, skulking in the grass at a distance, virtually invisible but for one or two pairs of ears.
Then we spotted whitebacked vultures circling. Before long, eight of them swooped to the ground in an ungainly fashion that exposed the design deficiencies of their landing gear.
If there was nothing at the waterhole to the side of us, they cruised in and out without even stopping.
If there were some zebra or wildebeest drinking, they might sit for a few minutes or take a quick snapshot before going off again in search of lions and leopards. Not one of them used binos to scan the whole area.
And the moral is? Never check the area around a waterhole with the naked eye and then drive away; use the binos and make a proper investigation!
Have you ever had a similar experience where you were watching something that others just didn't see? Share your story in the comments below.
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