6 November 2015
Back to a regular safari at Nkambeni Safari Camp we were spoiled with animals on camp road upon arrival. We came across buffalos, a common grey duiker, impalas and waterbucks before we arrived at the lodge for checking in.
Then we started with a sundowner safari. Here the guests took a drive with Israel who took them down to Mashawu Dam. Here it is always full of hippos and this time it wasn't any different. They saw many hippo heads but also two hippos coming out of the water entirely.
Other animals seen on drive were a scrub hare, white rhinos, elephants, buffalos, zebras, impalas, giraffes and kudus.
7 November 2015
An early start proved fruitful as it wasn't that hit just yet. As the day went by it got hotter and hotter and the animal sightings grew less and less.
Our highlight was seeing a leopard. Well, not just the leopard on her own. At first she was lying in a tree, but a bit restless. Moving her head left and right, yawning occasionally. But suddenly something to her left caught her attention. So much so it got her out of her lounging position and standing up on her branch. After a while she decided to jump down and hide in a bush. Then a baboon appeared in the riverbed she was hiding close by. And another one. And another one. If she had though it to be safe hidden in the bush she was wrong as the moment the big male baboons spotted her, the chase was on! The baboons chased her quite a while down the riverbed until she was out of sight. Then the baboons returned to forage with the rest of the family.
Our highlight of today was scary as well as pretty and very intense. At one point we were surrounded by buffalos. A large herd of them crossing in front and behind us and on both sides they were staring at us and wanting us to go away. However, with buffalos on all sides moving away was a bit tricky. So we waited for all of the ones in front to have crossed before we drove off. Then the emotions came loose as being surrounded by big buffalos is not something that happens in New York. It was scary, intense and wonderful at the same time and the guests' highlight of today.
Other animals seen: white rhinos, herds of elephants, buffalos, lions sleeping right next to the road, as well as a mating pair of lions not far from the road later that day, a sable antelope, pretty kudu bulls, waterbucks, steenboks, impalas, zebras, blue wildebeests, a lone giraffe, a very big leopard tortoise, hippos, more baboons, dwarf mongooses and vervet monkeys.
Birds included yellow-billed hornbills, Cape glossy starling, ground hornbills, two male paradise flycatchers chasing each other, a blacksmith lapwing mum and tiny chick, african jacana, a nice bateleur sitting in a tree, lilac breasted rollers, red crested korhaan and egyptian geese.
8 November 2015
This morning the guests embarked on a bushwalk, which was a highlight in itself.
Being from New York, the bush is the complete opposite to what they are used to, and sometimes even a little out of their comfort zone. This is mostly because of the unknown, so the moments of uneasiness pass quickly. But a bushwalk of course loses the safety blanket by means of no car. But the two armed field guides were well up to their job and the nerves were put aside quickly into their walk.
They learned lots about different herbivore poo and tracks and signs, but also came across hippos in a dam watching them, two sleeping buffalos which were too lazy to get up, impalas, zebras and a zebra carcass, old remnants of a giraffe and a new animal, a couple of young warthogs that kept on coming closer to them.
In the afternoon we set off on a good old game drive, where our highlight was visiting the elephant spa. A big bull was first testing the water upon arrival and apparently was not satisfied at first. He checked different points along the dam until he found a good spot to shower. Spraying himself down with water he cooled down and washed away the dust of a long day foraging.
Then it was time for a little drink break. Not being served anything special he made do with some water from the deeper end of the dam, which was cooler than the shallow water that had been in the boiling sun all day. Then he had an appointment at the mud bath. He strode across and first made the mud pool a bit bigger and messier by digging with its feet. Let the fun begin as he sucked up the mud and sprayed himself everywhere he could reach. He did quite a good job as he covered himself in thick layers of dark wet mud, as only a little patch on his bum stayed dry. Unfortunately after all the mud spraying he had gotten some in his eye and ear, so that needed cleaning.
To finish off his spa day he had a little snack before contemplating a dust bath to top it off. Deciding the dust wasn't good enough and/or the snack had made him hungry he decided it was over and he walked away from the dam. He crossed the road in front of us without a backward glance and walked purposefully off into the bush.
Other interesting sightings: zebras, vervet monkeys, herd of elephants, giraffes, impalas, kudus, waterbucks, common grey duiker, white rhinos snoozing, a sable bull resting, a herd of buffalos, hippo, crocodile, a lizard buzzard, a saddle-billed stork and a sighting with elephants at a waterhole as well as a white rhino bull and a large pride of lions finishing off a kill they had made earlier in the day. To top off a good day we all saw a shooting star when we were doing a little stargazing after dinner.