Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Safari With Karen From 5 April 2015

5 April 2015

It had rained heavily overnight and the disappearing clouds in the morning gave us a lovely sunrise. We had set off after breakfast and it was a long time before we spotted an animal. We were already joking that somebody had forgotten to wake them up, when we came across a few impalas.

Impalas are usually under appreciated, especially because we see them so often.

After a couple of days in the park, you have seen impalas loads of times, but they are still very pretty animals. These bachelors we saw were vey much appreciated as they showed there were still animals around. But we stopped plenty of times more for all the impalas we saw during the safari.

Our second highlight were two elephant bulls playing with water. It was a very hot afternoon and these guys were trying to cool down somewhat. At first they drank their fill, but soon enough they were spraying the cool water everywhere. They were splashing so wildly around they were even spraying each other. We were hoping they would go for a swim, but they decided against it and walked off.

Other animals seen: hippos, waterbucks, white egrets, grey heron, woolly necked stork, a hyena running away, steenbok, white rhino, kudus, warthogs, marabou stork, lions, plenty giraffes, a lone buffalo next to the car, vervet monkeys, a lilac-breasted roller and a European roller, crested barbet, more elephants, including a herd crossing just in front of us, nyala bulls, yellow-billed kite, crocodile, marsh terrapins, baboons, zebras, a pretty kudu bull and we helped safely cross multiple leopard tortoises, a Speke's hinged tortoise and a land snail (that took some time). That crossing safely is an issue during the busy Easter weekend we noticed by seeing a dead brown house snake and a dead Mozambican spitting cobra (then eaten by a tawny eagle) and a dead ... something so flat that it was no longer identifiable :-(.

6 April 2015

Today was our last day of our safari and it all started out really quiet again. It was an overcast morning and the sun had trouble getting through the clouds, so it didn't really warm up. When the wind picked up and made it even colder we decided to stop for coffee early.

After our break we had our highlight of today and probably of this safari: a cheetah. When we came around a corner he just crossed the road. He then disappeared in the high grass and we still saw glimpses but we thought we had seen the best of him.

Boy, were we wrong. Following his path we reversed with him, and then he crossed back to the other side, coming out on a parallel road and walking towards us, and then straight passed us.

But there was more. As we turned the car around, he walked calmly in front of us on the road. Then he jumped upon a fallen Marula tree and stood there, posing. He looked over the high grass, possibly for something to eat. And we had a great opportunity to take some amazing photos of this beautiful animal.

But it still ain't all. When he jumped off the log he walked in front of us on the road again, not a care in the world that we followed him. At the T-junction he showed us how he scent marks his territory, before jumping on the road direction sign and once again posing. As he scouted in all directions he gave us a great view of himself. And he didn't even blink when a car pulling a heavy caravan drove by him only a meter in front of his nose and then braked heavily. When he jumped of the road sign, he decided to walk in the opposite direction of where we had to go, so we left him to other vehicles that had just showed up. What an amazing show it was!!

Our second highlight was more of a funny one and the video made by the guests must have a sign "viewer discretion advised". As we spotted some kudu, there were females and a great kudu bull with some impressive horns. He was that impressive the ladies were quite impressed with his presence. Sniffing the bums of the females in the group he was checking if one of them was ready to mate. Apparently, one was... in about 7 months she might welcome a new baby kudu into the world.

Other interesting sightings: dwarf mongooses playing around the car, a purple crested turaco showing off his pretty colours, a hippo almost coming out of the water, waterbucks, a buffalo, an African fish eagle, a lone warthog, common grey duikers, a giraffes bottom half as he hid his head and neck between the trees and we almost went a drive without impalas, but managed to see just one!

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