Monday, January 11, 2016

On safari With Karen 8 January 2016

8 January 2016

We welcomed the rain this morning, after a scorching day yesterday, so unperturbed we set off early for our last game drive of this safari. We were hoping to see some lions, but luck wasn't with us this time. Or it was, as we got some great sightings, but not when it came to the big cats.

We enjoyed a great sighting of our first chameleon this morning when we had to emergency break for one which was crossing the road. His camouflage made him barely visible! Our abrupt stop put him on his guard so he swelled up and even though we didn't hear it, by the looks of his body language he hissed at us. Then he just froze, in the middle of the road. Not the safest place to be for a creature that small and often overlooked so we blocked the road to warn other vehicles and then we waited...
And waited...
And waited some more. Slowly he became unfrozen and started to continue to walk across. The first time he put another foot on the ground we cheered as there finally was some movement. But he took it slow. While pretending to be a leaf, rustling in the wind, to deter predators, he took ages to get across and in the meantime quite a queue was forming (most watching this chameleon crossing the road, some unaware where to look). To encourage him my guests urged him on, telling him he should stop being a leaf and be himself and get going and that we would protect him till he got to the other side. It didn't help, you can't rush Africa. So we waited it out until he was finally across and then we continued on our way. The next 5 chameleons we saw pretending to be a leaf, were a lot less exciting as their routine became common.

Our second highlight was seeing mating elephants! This something you don't often see. At first we thought they were playing as they were half hidden in the bushes, but after the first mating (or attempt, we are not sure), they moved out in the open for us. With his tusks the male positioned the female the way he wanted her and then mounted her. As she had trouble holding his weight, even though she spread her hind legs out a bit so she would stand more stable, she didn't stand properly still. Therefore moving around with the male stuck behind and riding him straight into a tree. He was too preoccupied with his girl that he didn't care that he now could reach a lot higher to get some fresh green leaves.

We he dismounted the girl had enough and gave him a good push away. They were still playing/pushing each other/flirting when a much larger male arrived at the scene. We only could guess that the time of the young male with the female would be over soon, as we left the sighting. The elephants had been pushing each other closer and closer to the vehicle and we were not planning on being caught in the middle of a power struggle. So choosing our safety we left them to it, but we got some awesome footage!

Other interesting sightings: after the rain a lot of tortoises were walking around as we saw multiple leopard tortoises and a hinged tortoise, white rhinos, kudus, lots of hyenas, including some young cubs and a very pregnant lady zebras, giraffes, baboons and we had our last look at impalas.

Then unfortunately it was really the end of this safari. We had already said goodbye to Henna and Jalal a couple days before, and now we had to say goodbye to Espen, Taryn, Seline and Robert, who had to go home as their holiday was over.

A big thank you for joining me on this safari and surviving the heat, it was great fun having you!




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