Monday, May 18, 2015

On safari With Karen 17 May 2015

17 May 2015

When the day started we had packed up the car and set off once again in search of new sightings. It was an overcast morning with a lot of wind that made it a cold morning! It was most likely the reason for our rather quiet morning. However we did come across a massive herd of elephants, including some very young babies. We watched them feeding for a while when suddenly they grouped together and raced across the road. The babies hidden in the middle were sprinting to keep up while the elephants on the outside gave us a dirty look. The stragglers behind the bundle of elephant even gave us a loud trumpet sound as if we were doing something scary or bad. But we loved it!

It was even better as on the other bank of the plains the elephants were crossing another herd was walking. And when we looked more to our right, out of the bush on the opposite side came another herd. This one at a run though, with the youngsters looking as if they had a sprint race! We watched until we were getting too cold in the fierce wind (and we were now in open terrain) and stopped for coffee.

Halfway the morning we unfortunately had to say goodbye to Vicky and Ken, who would continue their holiday in Cape Town. Thanks for joining our safari, it was great having you!

The day brightened at the end of the morning and due to the added sun more animals came out to play. One of those sightings consisted of a cheetah. Well, we did see half a head and a tail flick. And then a tail flick that compared to the head and the most likely position of the body would be impossible to be the same cheetah. There were two of them lying on the other side of the termite mound! When we repositioned our car to get a better look, we were in luck as the cheetah on top decided to roll over and instead of looking away it was now looking straight at us. And we even spotted the head of its brother a few times.

We were happy with what we had, but it actually got even better as one of them stood up, stretched and then disappeared from view. It wasn't long before its brother did the same thing. We saw them move off in the direction alongside the road so we proceeded to the next open area and got treated to two cheetahs walking by. It was through the high grass, but we were able to get a good look, especially when they briefly jumped up a fallen tree. We followed them from open area to open area until they moved deeper and deeper into the bush and we lost them as they camouflaged themselves from sight.

Other animals seen: leopard tortoises (which took ages to cross the road), a lot more elephants, waterbucks, impala rams going crazy for the females, bushbabies, a well hidden white rhino, kudus, giraffes, warthogs, a wildebeest hanging out with kudus, lots of hippos, buffalos, vervet monkeys, zebras, a small crocodile, and a very large troop of baboons.

New birds we saw today included a lilac-breasted roller, a purple roller, marabou stork, little bee-eaters, and a group of lappet-faced, white-backed and hooded vultures, eating something that was obscured by rocks. They gave us an awesome display of vulture dueling though!

Unfortunately we most likely also saw a poaching incident as we saw a helicopter circling and a sniffer dog setting out as well as a vehicle full of rangers being deployed close to where we saw all those vultures. The rangers weren't too keen to talk, so let's hope it wasn't a rhino or elephant. Or any poaching at all.

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