Monday, September 28, 2015

On Safari With Karen From 26 September 2015

25 September 2015

This morning started action pact with lots of sightings of animals we had seen in the last days, but is always still a pleasure to see.

We were totally surprised by a sighting of a hyena though that suddenly crossed the road while we were actually watching a brown snake eagle. We drove closer and the lovely animal was kind enough to pose for some pictures, before continuing to cross the road and disappear into the distance. 

But our highlight of today was a sighting of two hippos this afternoon. For the first time in forever we encountered two hippos in Shithave Dam, there where one ruled the dam alone for a long time. One actually challenged the other and it accumulated into lots of action of hippos fighting. Thoroughly cheered on by the guests they kept on coming for each other multiple times, but when we left the sighting it was still unclear who the winner was. 

Other interesting sightings: many zebras, waterbucks, impalas and kudus, a couple of bull elephants, a lovely white rhino, a swimming crocodile, a family of warthogs, giraffes, common grey duikers, two small buffalo herds, steenboks, common reedbucks, dwarf mongooses and some new animals were added: blue wildebeest, klipspringers and the silhouette of a lion sleeping behind a bush, and the occasional tail flick. 

And we saw some new birds two: Wahlberg's eagle, a black shouldered kite hovering, grey heron, groundscraper thrush, saddle billed stork, helmeted guineafowls (teasing the crocodile in the water by drinking close by), three banded plover, blacksmith lapwing, and a blackheaded oriole. 

26 September 2015

Today we satisfied our hunger for lions as we had two separate sightings of them. And more fun than yesterday as in this case both times we actually could see the entre lion and not just a silhouette or a tail flick.

Our first sighting was a mating pair of lion quite close to the road. It was too hot for them to even attempt mating while we were watching them so they were pretty much just snoozing the whole time, but nonetheless we had a good look at them. Our second sightings was a pride of at least 9 lions. They were a bit further away from the road than our first sighting but they were in open terrain so not obscured.

Occasionally one of the lions got up and walked to a different comfy place to lie down, which was usually between 1 and 5 meters away. There was actually a white rhino lying close by, but neither species cared much for the other. Apparently it was too hot to get bothered, but also in colder conditions these animals just walk by each other. We thoroughly enjoyed both sightings!

Our second highlight involved a herd of elephants and a waterhole. Most elephants were happy to have a drink of water and by the looks of it they seemed to be draining the waterhole. One youngster already had his fill and seemed in the mood for a water play, so it kept sucking up water and spraying it up like a fountain. It looked like he was having much fun, until the matriach told them all to gather their things and be on their way. 

Personally my favorite so it deserves a special mention was our hyena sighting this morning. First there was one, then two. And three. In the end there were five! One of them a very heavily pregnant female and judging by the swollen tits, about to give birth. There were zebras in the area and they had a look at them, but decided against hunting them. Instead they took refuge in a shady drainage line to rest for the day. 

Other interesting sightings: a bachelor group of zebras walking in front of us, elephant bulls, buffalo bulls, giraffes, vervet monkeys, a steenbok, klipspringers, two warthogs nice and close, impressive kudu bulls, impalas and our new species for today were baboons and a giant plated lizard sunning himself. New bird species included ground hornbills (new for some of us that is), Burchell's starling, a bateleur sitting in a tree, grey hornbill and yellow-billed hornbills

In the afternoon the last remaining guests went on their sunset drive and this time they at least could enjoy a lovely sunset with some amarula. It was a rather quiet drive, but it was a great experience to see, or mostly hear, a large buffalo herd noisily cross the road. As they had turned off the lights and it was already dark, it explored the other senses more than just seeing it. Other animals they saw were scrub hares, a family of bush babies and a black chested snake eagle. 

27 September 2015

It was our last morning and what we really wanted was finding a blue wildebeest that was not obscured by bushes so the guests could take a picture of it. Unfortunately we didn't find any at all but the guests were happy with everything else too. 

In addition to all the great sightings we already had this safari we had another two great white rhino sightings. One of a couple crossing the road next to us and one of a very large male in front of us. But were excellent opportunities for filming and photographing. And after all the zebras we have seen so far, we finally managed to find one that was willing to pose long enough to take a nice frontal face picture!

Other interesting sightings included impalas (even at the airport we couldn't get away from them), buffalos hanging out with a warthog, giraffes and later a special giraffe hiding behind a tree, so we saw just its feet, waterbucks, elephants, steenboks, common reedbucks and this time there was only one hippo again in Shithave Dam.

We also checked some new bird species of the checklist: arrow marked babblers, red crested korhaan, crested francolin, kurichane thrush and an african harrier hawk. 

During this safari I was one or multiple days joined by Ed, Pom, Ahn, Joanne, Nik, Christiane, Mike and Kim and I hope they had a great time!! I very much enjoyed this safari and safe travels to all, as all had to go back to your home countries. Maybe we'll see you back one day 

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