Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On Safari With Karen 7 - 8 June 2015

7 June 2015

We started our safari from Phabeni Gate today. It was a rather quiet drive with long periods of seeing no animals but it was still a good drive. As the guests hadn't been on any safari prior to today, every animal was a treat. A highlight was seeing many hippos outside the water at Nyamundwa Dam, including a baby one. We also noticed two crocodiles warming up in the sun as well as white-breasted cormorants, African darters, two fish eagles in a tree and impalas coming down to drink.

Another highlight was seeing an elephant up close. As we had first seen him in the thick bush molesting a tree, it was quite a surprise to see him come out shortly after on our side. We had stopped the car and enjoyed watching him from a distance, but he wanted a closer look. Walking around the side and front of the car almost within touching distance the guests had a really up close and personal experience. On the other side of the road he posed for some more pictures (as his entire bulk now fitted in the frame) and then he was off finding another tree to break down.

We also came across a giraffe that was giving birth. Or so it seemed. It had the front hooves of the baby hanging out (just past the wrist joint), but nothing happened.

People at the sighting said that they had been there for at least 30min and nothing had happened. While we there we saw one of the legs stretch and then hang limp again. Would the baby come? Or was it just a contraction the made the leg spasm? Would the baby still be alive? The mother however stood there ruminating as if nothing was going on at her behind. A long wait later nothing more had happened and there still was no progress. Needing a toilet break for some we decided to leave, hoping both baby and mother would be ok.

Other interesting sightings: a slender mongoose drinking from a puddle, warthogs, white rhinos, kudus, steenboks, impalas, vervet monkeys, zebras and common grey duikers.

And some birds too: Cape glossy starlings, lilac breasted rollers, grey hornbills, brown snake eagle, forktailed drongos, a flock of red-faced mousebirds, arrow marked babblers, white-crested helmet shrikes, dark-capped bulbuls, african pied wagtail and yellow-billed hornbills

8 June 2015

As all the guests were very keen to see lions, it was a highlight to see one indeed.

Actually we saw a male and a female, completely passed out in the shade. They didn't even move a whisker, but the guests enjoyed seeing those beasts nonetheless.

A nicer predator sighting was actually when we stumbled upon a cheetah on the side of the road, having an eye on crossing impalas about 500m away. She crossed the road and purposefully walked between the bushes and grasses in the direction of the impalas. We had an on and off visual and decided to park with the impalas in view and wait. And we waited. And waited some more. More and more cars showed up wondering what we were looking at (impalas to tell you the truth, as a blow-by-blow was given by the ones with binoculars if their heads were up and ears aimed at something suspicious). However, nothing happened for the 30min we sat there at least. And as the impalas were quite close-knit together it could be a long wait for our cheetah. We however, had to make our way to the exit, but it was the highlight of the trip of many.

Our second highlight was a large (and I mean LARGE, we counted at least 50, but there were more still coming) herd of elephants crossing the road just next to us. We saw the bushes move and then they appeared. Slowly while feeding along the way more and more elephants came into view. Elephants of all ages, from babies to some very old ladies, had probably just been to the river, maybe even crossed it judging by their wet feet and bellies. But now they were on their way to have some tree munch. It was a thoroughly enjoyed never ending stream of elephants!

Other interesting sightings: zebras crossing, a large journey of giraffes, white rhinos with a calf, warthogs running away, a nyala bull, blue wildebeests, bushbucks, steenboks, kudus, hippos, chacma baboons, hippos and Cape buffalos.

Additional birds: a green woodhoopoe, red-billed hornbills, an African hoopoe, little bee-eater, magpie shrikes, white-backed vultures, sadle-billed stork, hamerkop, helmeted guineafowls, great white egret, grey louries, black-collared barbet, purple roller, crested francolins, and a crowned hornbill.

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