Friday, December 18, 2015

On Safari With Karen 16 - 17 December 2015

16 December 2015

We left White River with rain behind us and followed the route to the blue sky. Upon arrival at the Kruger NP the sun was shining and there was no sign of rain. We drove to Nkambeni Safari Camp and already encountered our first animals: buffalos were wallowing in the mud, kudus were on the side of the road and a herd of impalas with babies was watching us. While watching them a young grey duiker came greeting the impalas. Not sure what to make of it some of the impalas sniffed it. But soon they found out it wasn't an impala and to protect their babies they chased it away. Better safe then sorry they must have thought. It gave us a great show of jumping impalas!

On the sundowner amongst other animals, the guests got to enjoy a nice sighting of a sable antelope. This rare and endangered animal is seldom seen, so it was quite a treat.

17 December 2015 

This morning we had our first morning drive and we headed out to see some more of the inhabitants of the bush. We were told about a leopard early on, but upon arrival at where it was last seen, it was gone. However, following another tip, it had moved to another site close by. Here we did get lucky and saw the leopard lying in the grass, watching some waterbuck while it itself was watched by some buffalos. After a while it got up and walked into the bush. 

Following a hunch, we drove around to the other side and waited with baited breath. It's like Christmas and you are waiting to see what Santa brought you. The waiting game paid off though as after a while it appeared out of nowhere. Crossed the road and started sniffing around. We watched it from up close and when it disappeared into the bush again we anticipated its route. 

Once again we were waiting, and once again it paid off. Out he came, crossed the road and started climbing a big rocky outcrop while still sniffing around. There it posed for us so we could take some lovely pictures while watching this beauty. After a while it continued sniffing around the rock and we lost visual. Luck had run out it seems as we couldn't find it back, but we had an awesome sighting. 

Our second highlight was seeing a large herd of elephants. Elephants was on the wishlist of one of my guests so she was really excited. They were feeding on both sides of the road and when we got to the crossroads, all of them came out of the bush before passing us by in front. 

What made it extra fun was a show given by a young male. Coming of age he finds it necessary to impress the others and in doing so he smashed trees and bushes. We heard him coming from a mile away and he added some loud trumpeting to the sounds of crashing trees. Then he came crashing out of the bush and charged the car till about 5 meters from the rear end. Back into the bush he went and this time he came to the side of the vehicle and stopped two meters in front of us. Making a lot of noise and show, he backed up for another attempt. As none of the older ladies were close by I decided it needed a firm telling off, so this time as he ran towards the car he halted at the sound of the voice and quickly retreated into the bushes. We heard him trash another bush and trumpeting in protest. Now one of the older ladies in the herd had enough of it too and gave him a big slap with her trunk. And while protesting he stopped for a bit. However soon after he started challenging younger elephants in the herd. This time he got told off by a pair of tusks in the butt and he quieted down. I think the time soon will come that he is off on his own, looking for some other lone males to pair up with before being in its prime and mate with other females. 

Other animals seen: hippo, waterbucks, steenbok, common reedbuck, a lone giraffe, vervet monkeys, fighting zebras, baboons, buffalos, dung beetles, lots of elephant bulls, impalas, kudus, a white rhino and a chameleon. 

Birds included a pintailed whydah, white storks, woodlands kingfisher, Cape glossy starlings, tawny eagle, wattled lapwings, blacksmith lapwings, yellow-billed kite, lilac breasted rollers, european bee eaters and red-collared widowbirds

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