Monday, October 26, 2015

On Safari With Karen from 24 October 2015

24 October 2015

Another safari started today and after check-in and a spot of lunch we went straight on a drive. As our first drive all animals we saw for the first time were a highlight on its own of course. But twice we saw a grumpy elephant bull taking all the attention.

The first one was happily plucking small plants and digging up its roots when disturbed by zebras. Well, disturbed, they came walking up to him and wanted to pass him, but he wanted none of that. He turned around and made himself look big and impressive so the zebras halted. Then he reconvened his search for food. After a while he had enough, walking off in the opposite direction and not once did he look back at the zebras. 

The second time the bull elephant was drinking at transport dam. While the hippos and a large crocodile were on the other side, he had it all to himself. That is until two blue wildebeest showed up. They walked right up to the elephant and he got shocked they dared. Then, just like the other one earlier, he made himself look big and impressive. However this time it had the opposite effect as one of the wildebeests saw it as an invitation to come play. Jumping around he ran towards the elephant. We thought he aimed for a head-on collision. But once again the elephant bull had no time for play and chased the wildebeest off. When the elephant had its fill and walked off, the wildebeests were allowed closer to the water to drink. 

Other animals off the checklist: impalas, more blue wildebeests, lots of zebras, dwarf and slender mongoose, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, buffalos, white rhinos, sable antelopes, waterbucks, a very large crocodile, kudus and a nice kudu bull too. 

Birds included twice a red crested korhaan displaying its dangerous dive, african hoopoe, african jacana, blacksmith lapwing, cape glossy starlings, crested francolin and helmeted guineafowls. 

25 October 2015

We started with a long quiet stint with occasionally an impala until a tree branch looked a bit different than normal. Upon a closer look we had found a leopard on that branch! She was just peacefully lying stretched out, making the branch look extra thick. She wasn't asleep though as she occasionally lifted her head and looked around. She yawned a couple of times and once she even stretched and sat up for a bit, but then laid back down. A good start of the day!

Our second interesting sighting was actually while waiting in line to see lions eating a sable (don't they know it is a rare antelope 😕). A hooded vulture decided to make use of the time while waiting for the lions to finish eating and stretched its wings as far as it could go. Then when he had found a nice ants nest laid down on top of it with its wings still open. This we called anting as the ants now walk over the vulture and clean it. It is not often you see this happen. It is actually only the second time I have seen it. The ants move over the bird in question, in this case a hooded vulture, will eat dried pieces of skin, maybe some meat that he got in his feathers and while walking around the ants secrete a formic acid that will clean the skin even further.

They did irritate the vulture too though as he kept on shaking his head ferociously sometimes too. After about 5 minutes he had enough and got up, gave himself a good shake and then preened his feathers. All ready to finish the kill the lions had made, once the lions would move out of the way.  

Other interesting sightings: klipspringer, steenbok, waterbucks (including two fighting males), zebras, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, vervet monkeys with lots of babies, bushbucks, nyalas, impalas (including fighting males), hyenas, elephants, white rhinos, buffalos, blue wildebeests, tree squirrels, lions and baboons. 

Birds included an african fish eagle, bateleurs, lilac breasted roller, brown headed parrots, a lone ground hornbill, yellow-billed hornbill, crested francolins, great white egret, grey heron and african hoopoes. 

On their Sundowner Safari they saw lots of elephants and a boomslang hanging on a tree quite close. However after dark the animals did not want to play in sight, so it ended rather quiet. 

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