Monday, October 12, 2015

On Safari With Gert 10-11 October 2015

10 October 2015

After an early breakfast and watching the sunrise we set off on our morning game drive.

Our first sighting of the day was a large mixed herd of Impala and Zebra. They were very energetic an playful, a few of the Zebra engaging in a bit of play-fighting, while the dominant male Impala was chasing his herd members around trying to keep them under control. The younger Impalas, all just under a year old now, were all chasing each other in circles, bounding through the bush flashing their white tails and showing off their agility.

While watching this we also had a very good sighting of an African Cuckoo,  an inter-African migrant and a brood-parasite, who entrust the Fork-tailed Drongo with rearing their chicks.

Our best sighting of the day was a journey of giraffe, all female leisurely browsing close-by as well as crossing the road in front of us. We also had an elephant bull in must walking down the road in front of our vehicle. Even though he was very well behaved, he sure had right of way.

We also managed to find 4 lionesses hiding very well in the shade of some trees on a riverbank. We watched for a while as they were constantly swatting flies with their tails and repositioning to stay in the shade. We also had fun watching the apprehension of the kudu and Impala trying to convince themselves that it was safe to drink, even though they were constantly alarm calling and could catch the scent of the lions from their position. Eventually fear overcame thirst and they left without drinking...

We then took a midday break before setting out again on a late afternoon drive during which we were lucky enough to encounter a large bull Sable Antelope, one of the rare antelope species. It was standing in an open area and offered some very good picture opportunities.

The highlight of the day, however came shortly before closing time, when we came across a breeding herd of elephant,  leisurely grazing in a small river. The herd consisted of several adult females with their young of various ages. So we watched them slowly move further into the reeds, catching glimpses of the smaller babies only through the gaps in the tall grass. All of this with the African sun setting in the background...

11 October 2015

A slightly windy and overcast morning was a welcome change to the scorching heat of the last few days... the drive started off with one of the highlights when we saw a large female White Rhino and her 3 year old male calf. Something had clearly unsettled them, as they were running along a fire-break parallel to the road. They had their tails curled up as a sign of agitation and we're clearly not about to relax and after following them for several hundred meters we left them alone in an attempt to help calm them down. 

The Spotted Hyena is always a crowd favorite and we made our way to a nearby active hyena den ‎hoping to find some of them out, as it was still fairly cool. We were lucky enough to find two of them basking in the vague sunlight by their den entrance. Very relaxed, they only moved when lifting their heads to catch a passing scent on the breeze. 

Towards the end of our drive, slowly making our way back to camp, we took a small detour around a notorious leopard hiding spot, hoping rather than expecting to find anything as it had warmed up considerably by that time. I couldn't believe our luck when we saw the young male leopard walking across the granite dome, taking his time to hide in the shade of small trees for short intervals. We watched it making its way down, getting ever closer to us before eventually settling under a shady tree about 10 meters from our vehicle. By that time a couple more cars had arrived and as the leopard lay down and comfortable we left it in peace.

What a magnificent experience to have such a clear and close sighting of this beautiful creature!

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