Friday, October 30, 2015

On Safari With Karen from 28 October 2015

28 October 2015

A very quiet start of a new safari as we drove for about 20 kilometers without even seeing an impala. But luckily it turned around as time went by.

Our first highlight was meeting this white rhino bull that was taking a leisurely stroll down the road. Not caring for oncoming cars or anything else he just made his way down, occasionally stopping for some grazing. When he got close to us he did seem to pose for a bit, or just checking us out, but then continued on his way down. His swagger to the left and right of the road made it seem he either had too much to drink or he just couldn't make up his mind on which side the grass seemed better. 

Our second highlight was seeing a herd of elephants feeding close to the road. Being the favorite of one of my guests, he was absolutely delighted. The family stayed close knit together in the bushes but occasionally one would venture out a bit so we could have a good look. And it was great to see how elephants use their trunk to get food from the ground or off trees. Or to rub their ear. Or to pick a hair or something else small out of their eye!

Other animals seen included zebras, giraffes, blue wildebeests, a warthog, waterbucks, a steenbok, impalas and female kudus and nice kudu bulls too. 

Birds included the pretty cape glossy starling, the even prettier lilac breasted roller, crested francolins, helmeted guineafowls and forktailed drongos. 

29 October 2015

A morning well spend today as it was all about the lions today! As we arrived at our second lion sighting of today, this was the absolute highlight for my guests.

The guests were eager to see some and the first lion sighting was quite disappointing. These lions were sleeping down in the riverbed, about 50m away from us and wherever we parked they were obscured by trees and leaves. Not good to take pictures. But now we had arrived at a sighting of 6 lions, 3 males and 3 females, sleeping close to the road. Occasionally one would open an eye, maybe two or even pop up a head. But nothing much else they were planning on doing as this is what lions do best: snooze! We had the pleasure of watching them from all angles for a long time and got lucky that we saw one get up and walk about 5 whole meters before lying back down again. We also saw a male flehmen (checking the urine of the female to see if she is ready to mate) and actually mate with her. But then all went back to sleep. 

A third lion sighting was also exciting as it was 3 lions from the same pride just a little further down the road. One male was lying head up next to the road and he had a good look at us before getting up, walking across and lying down in the shade of a bush on the other side. This was the moment that all camera batteries had died from all the pictures and videos taken, so it was time to head back to Skukuza for some long overdue breakfast!

Personally the highlight was coming around the corner and being engulfed by a pack of 19 wild dogs. They weren't watching the car (which almost resulted in a head on collision between a moving wild dog and our car standing still), but they had their eyes on the bush. And suddenly right next to us, out jumps an impala! Chased by half the pack he still manages to disappear in the bush on the other side of the road and get away. The dogs came back to the road afterwards and we took a little drive with them while they trotted up the road.

Other animals seen: reedbuck, buffalo, zebras, vervet monkeys, a gang of banded mongooses on early morning patrol to raid the bins in camp, an island full of hippos, nyalas, warthogs and lots of very cute baboons.

On their sundowner drive they could add giraffes and the elusive leopard to the list.

Birds today included a martial eagle, southern ground hornbills, yellow billed kite, green woodhoopoes, bateleurs, little bee-eaters, grey go-away birds, yellow billed hornbills and goliath herons. 

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