Monday, February 8, 2016

On Safari With Gert 4 - 5 February 2016

4 February 2016

After an early morning Bush walk for the clients, during which they saw large herds of buffalo, zebra, a few Elephant and many more interesting things, we had a leisurely breakfast and then left on a short morning drive. It was a fairly cool, overcast morning with a faint drizzle falling.

First up, we encountered a large bull Elephant, feeding on fallen Marula fruit. This turned out to be the pattern for the morning, as we came across a few more solitary adult Elephant bulls doing the same, one of them a very large bull with an impressive set of tusks!

We stopped off at a nearby waterhole where we watched a solitary bull Hippopotamus bobbing up and down for a breath every few minutes, while on the bank a few Waterbuck were grazing, one of them a female with a very small baby, no more than a few days old. It lay down in the grass surveying the world around it with mom grazing nearby.

We also found a nice variety of birds at the same waterhole, amongst others, Common Sandpiper, Great Egret, Grey Heron and a pair of African Fish-Eagle. Every time the Eagles changed position, the others would fly up and try their best to keep away from the Eagles while making quite lot of noise in the process. The Eagles would also keep a close eye on the Herons and Egrets and try and chase and steal their food if they managed to catch anything - an occurrence known as klepto-parasitism.

After a break for lunch and a siesta, we headed back out for a late afternoon drive.

The highlight of this was a small family of Kudu, including a virtually newborn calf, it was still a bit unsteady on its legs but very keen to explore, although not straying far from Mom! We also found a large herd of Buffalo, all lying down in a clearing, trying to hide from the wind. We ended the drive with a spectacular orange sky as the sun dipped below the clouds to signal the end of another great day in Africa!

5 February 2016

After an early morning we embarked on our Game Drive - our mission for the day; to find some cats as this would be the last day on Safari for the group. The first hour or so was dominated by solitary Elephant Bulls, but we were also lucky enough to find 2 white Rhino bulls, the first rhino in 3 days! We found good general game such as a large herd of Zebra, Buffalo and Blue Wildebeest. We also went past a known Hyena den and found the entire clan out of the den! This means 14 Hyena out and about, including 7 Cubs of various ages up to about 4 months old... Most of them were lying close to the road with some of the Cubs nursing. Shortly before our mid-morning break we also found a rare breeding herd of Elephant, as for the last few days we have seen only males and no herds!

After our break we headed a bit further into the park and along the river when we received word of a pride of Lion which had just killed a Zebra! We headed that way and found 6 adult males and a female, taking a break from the feeding. There were already a few Hooded Vultures around, but the lions were far from done, with 1 male deciding to drag the carcass out of the view of more Vultures and under the bridge, as the kill was made in a small riverbed... One of the Males had no interest in feeding and was far more interested in courting the female. We sat for about 15 minutes watching their antics and getting a few very good views during that time.

By then it was time to turn around and head back to a nearby camp for lunch. As we entered the lunch spot, we received a call from a colleague, the mercurial Mr Williams, who had just left the same camp. He had found a large male Leopard about 1 km down the road... We responded to the call and were lucky enough to find the leopard lying in an open area; a huge male about 15 meters off the road! As the cars inevitably started to congregate, the leopard got up and slowly walked closer to the road and into the drainage pipe underneath, as this was also in a small riverbed! A truly magnificent specimen and a great view of it! Then it was back to camp for a slightly delayed lunch with mission accomplished!

After lunch on our way back to camp we found a herd of Sable Antelope with a large bull, a few females and some young. A fitting way to end the Safari with these magnificent animals!

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