Monday, December 28, 2015

On safari With Gert From 25 December 2015

25 December 2015

After an early breakfast we left camp at 06:00 for our Safari. The day started off cool and cloudy and we were hoping this would work in our favor sightings-wise.

First up we were quite lucky and found a small herd of elephants consisting of 2 adult females and 3 youngsters. One of the calves was still very young, about a month old and delighted all present with his antics, running around with his trunk flopping all over the place and just being very cute in general. This was followed shortly by a large buffalo herd and the first of our Rhino sightings for the day, rather distant, however we did find a couple of white rhino fairly close to the road later on and a large bull crossing the road in front of us...

We then followed up on a tip about a lone male lion and headed in that direction. We found the lion lying about 10 meters off the road, fast asleep. He was quite an old boy, but we could see him fairly well as he was lying in the open and did eventually wake up to turn over and face our way, posing for a few pictures before we continued with our drive.

On our way to a nearby camp for a break we then noticed a few cars parked in the road in front of us and on approach saw what they had stopped for; one of the largest male leopards I had ever seen were about 15 meters off the road, settling on a termite mound for a grooming session before getting comfortable and dozing off, to the delight of the many onlookers. This however was along one of the main roads and the traffic very quickly got intolerable and we decided to move on after getting a short but very sweet sighting.

The final highlight of the day came during the hot late afternoon, when we found a solitary Spotted Hyena lying in a mud pool close to the road. It had obviously figured out the best way to keep cool and even though it did lift its head a few times to look around and sniff the breeze, it wasn't going anywhere and we eventually left it in peace.

All of this, in addition to some very good general game sightings made for the perfect African Christmas!

26 December 2015

Setting off early on a rather cool morning thanks to the overcast and windy conditions, we had very good general game sightings for the first hour or so, including a nice mixed herd of Zebra and Impala with many youngsters. We also saw 2 elephant bulls leisurely grazing in an open area, slowly but surely working their way closer to the road. We observed them for a few minutes, amazed at how gentle these giants can be!

We then stopped for a short coffee break, before continuing with our, drive, in the direction of an earlier report of lion. However, along the way at a waterhole we were lucky enough to find 3 Wild dogs, most likely part of a larger pack. The dogs for the most part were quite well hidden, but did get up a few times to reposition themselves or find cooler, more comfortable shady spots... Eventually they all lay down in the tall grass on the edge of a riverbank and we lost sight of them, deciding to move on.

A little later, we did reach the reported lion sighting and it was 2 large males feeding on a rhino carcass. The Rhino had reportedly succumbed to injuries inflicted by another Rhino during a fight. The lions by that time must have been feeding for quite a while as they had hollowed out a decent chunk of the Rhino's belly and it was very interesting to see them force their entire heads into the carcass to feed. What was most impressive though, was the sheer power of these male lions as they tugged at the at least 2,5 ton carcass, managing to rock it back and forth seemingly effortlessly! The space at this sighting was rather limited though and we decided to move on after observing them for a few minutes, letting some other vehicles in for a view. We also got a quick glimpse of a Spotted Hyena, slinking past in the background, no doubt waiting for his turn at the feast.

After lunch and a couple of hours relaxing time back at camp, we went out again for a short late afternoon drive during which we were treated to memorable sightings of a baby Giraffe with its mother, a month old baby elephant suckling from it's mother and a baby Hyena of about 4 months old lying by a den entrance, peeking at the passing vehicles... All in all, another very successful day's game drive!

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