Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On Safari With Karen From 7 August 2015

7 August 2015

Another day, another safari. After checking in at Nkambeni Safari Camp we split up.

Some of our number joined the Sundowner Safari, while the rest went with me on a short drive. 

Our highlight was seeing a giraffe statue. A statue? Hmmmm. Is it really alive? It isn't moving... At all. It's a statue alright! Oh no, wait, it flicked an ear! After a staring contest that seemed like forever the giraffe had given in and looked sideways towards the bush it might want to eat. Making sure for us it wasn't a statue after all, but a real live giraffe!! It gave us some giggles though, they way he was standing still, looking at us, looking at him...

On the sundowner safari they had a great encounter with a massive elephant bull that was much taller than the safari vehicle!

Other animals seen: elephants on camp road upon arrival, common grey duiker, impalas, dwarf mongooses and zebras. 

8 August 2015

This morning was one full of sightings. We started off with a nice large herd of buffalos about 5km into the drive. It was still early and obviously not all of the buffalos in the herd agreed to the time to get up and move on. Some were very vocal and their intonation said it all: it was too early to get up. However one by one they raised and the herd started moving through the high grass out of sight. 

Our second highlight of this safari was seeing a serval! The visual itself was not that great but it is a rarity to actually see a serval so it was a highlight on its own! And speaking of rare animals, amongst a lot of white rhino sightings we also saw a black rhino mother and calf. And to top it off we had three different sightings of the rare and endangered ground hornbills (hmmm, guests now don't believe in them being rare anymore...)

Other interesting sightings: giraffes, warthogs, kudus including some nice bulls, two herds of elephants with babies, zebras, waterbucks, a klipspringer, steenboks, reedbucks, tree squirrels, common grey duikers, dwarf mongooses, a crocodile and of course plenty impalas. Oh and we saw a tuft of a mane of a lion, but that doesn't really count as seeing a lion :-(. 

Birds: white-backed vultures, bateleurs, lilac-breasted roller, grey hornbill, african hoopoe and Cape glossy starlings. 

9 August 2015

There where we saw plenty of rhinos yesterday, this morning we had that with zebras! We saw so many zebras that in the end, we didn't stop for them anymore as we were already overloaded with cute pictures of them. However, no rhino to be seen. 

We did however finally get to see a large cat, albeit briefly. After the tuft of a mane yesterday we had also followed up on two more tips of lions or leopards but found no such thing :-(. This morning our streak of bad luck continued with three (!) times just missing a leopard sighting :'-(. Getting desperate now, when a fourth tip came in about one just around the corner we had low expectations. But this time we actually got to see the cat. The entire cat nonetheless! Ok it was walking away, and seen against the sun so not great for pictures, but after all the bad luck we were pretty excited about actually seeing one! So a definite highlight, especially since all the guests were still with us. 

Later on my last remaining guest and myself came upon another leopard sighting.

Even though we were excited this one stayed put up in a tree, the amount of traffic surrounding it made it into a lowlight. We did get to see the leopard, but never reached the best spot for pictures as traffic had jampacked the road. The comedy show was enough to entertain us for a while as people refused to move and yelled at others to do so, while the leopard slept through it all (or pretended to do so). However after being stuck for over an hour we decided to leave as a space had opened up behind us and we reversed our way out of traffic. 

Our second highlight this morning was made by impalas. Impalas are usually beautiful but in such abundance that you stop stopping for them after day 1. But today they gave us quite a show as an entire herd sprinted towards a dam. We got some nice action shots of jumping impalas and running ones too. We just never figured out why they were running across the road as they stopped immediately at the dam to drink and then ran back up after they had their fill...

Other interesting sightings: multiple elephant sighting, kudus, waterbucks, a sable bull walking away, a lone hippo, crocodile, a steenbok and in the end we saw a rock with some ears in the distance between bushes, finally, a white rhino today. 

Birds included the pretty lilac breasted roller, tawny eagle, a white-backed vulture, woolly necked storks, grey heron, chinspot batises and bateleurs flying over. 

10 August 2015

On our last morning it was an overcast one. We took a slow drive to Skukuza where my last remaining guest, Steve, would stay behind for a conference. But before we got there we would have a nice time spotting game. 

And when I say spotting, it was sometimes hard! Steve found a sable bull that was hiding in the grass so well, it took some time to actually see it. As it was lying down, just the curve of the horns was visible. Unmistakable the horns of a sable! After taking some pictures the sable bull was kind enough to stand up so we could see his whole body. Sables are a secretive antelope, so to come across one is always a pleasure. And to spot one as well hidden as this one, I take my hat off!

We also had a nice time watching an elephant herd feeding. Various elephants demonstrated how they can use their trunk in various ways, of how they use their feet. And what particular parts of vegetation they like to eat. While the herd moved on slowly they left quite some destruction behind of munched on bushes and trees!

Other interesting sightings: a white rhino bull, buffalo bulls, some lone elephant bulls, kudus, waterbucks, zebras, hippos, a lone giraffe, warthogs and impalas. 

Birds included green woodhoopoes, yellow-billed hornbills, and a sighting with two bateleurs, a tawny eagle and white-backed vultures sitting in trees in close proximity to each other. 

After dropping off Steve I proceeded on my own to the gate and had separate sightings of male and female bushbuck, more giraffes and while I was thinking I hadn't seen any monkeys or baboons this tour, I came across some vervet monkeys!

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