Monday, March 14, 2016

On Safari With Gert From 10 March 2016

10 March 2016

This afternoon we started a new Safari with 2 Italian guests, Illaria and Veronica. It was rather cool and cloudy and the Park has been getting some good rains over the last 2 days or so.

Our first highlight came when we found 4 Giraffe quite close to the road. 2 of them crossed the road in front of us while we sat watching them, while another, an adult female, was browsing about 5 meters from us in full view, giving us a detailed demonstration of their feeding habits.

A little further, we found 2 large Elephant Bulls, both very relaxed, leisurely feeding close to us, slowly making their way from one tree to the next.

We also found good general game, including a herd of Zebra, a few Vervet Monkeys and a large Warthog!

We ended the drive with a sighting of an old male Buffalo, grazing just next to the road shortly before reaching our camp for the night!

11 March 2016

We left camp early this morning amid cool, drizzly conditions. For the first half an hour or so it was fairly quiet, until we got a nice herd of Zebra fairly close to the road and shortly after that, our first Giraffe sighting of the day.

Not long after, we came across a huge herd of Buffalo, a good few hundred strong. We watched part of the herd crossing the road and were fortunate enough to also see a few youngsters, some of them very recent additions to the population!

The cool weather worked in our favor as, a little later, we also saw 3 Lionesses lying in the open in a riverbed. Even during short bouts of rain they remained in the open, very lazy, but one at least lying with her head up, surveying the area!

Shortly before our breakfast stop we found a large, very relaxed bull Elephant in musth, close to the road. We were downwind and could smell him quite strongly, along with all the other signs of a bull in musth, apart from the temperament, as he seemingly could not be bothered by the growing number of vehicles, watching them as they pass, but leisurely browsing on...

We also found our first Rhino for the tour; in fact, we had a few different sightings of White Rhino, which got progressively better as the day got slightly warmer.

The highlight of these were 2 males grazing on short grass in an open area, close to the road, providing us with a very good view and some picture opportunities.

After our lunch and afternoon break we went out again for a short PM drive during which we found our first Elephant breeding herd for this Safari!  They were quite active and vocal, with a couple of young males chasing each other around to the sound of trumpeting and breaking branches. Some of the adult females also seemed a bit stressed, as there was at least 1 very small baby with them, well hidden from our view by the females as they walked down the road in front of us!

We were also lucky enough to find a small pack of African Wild dog relaxing on a granite outcrop. Although they were very lazy and slightly obscured by the rock, one of them regularly lifted its head for a good look around and we managed to get a fairly decent view of it. Afterwards it was time to head back to camp with some more dark clouds rolling in!

12 March 2016

After a night of heavy rains, we departed on our final morning safari in very wet and still drizzly conditions, not the greatest game drive weather...  We decided to visit one of the larger waterholes in the area to see what's around and on our way there found a small Buffalo herd consisting of 1 large and very attentive male, a few adult females and some of the last 2 seasons' calves. We observed each other for a while, the buffalo staring as only they can, until they seemed to reach a decision and turned back and into the bush.

At the waterhole there was a resident pod of hippo and we watched their antics for some time, as they were fairly active, some youngsters having a playful go at each other and making quite a splash!

The rain slowly started clearing and we could see our first patches of blue sky for 3 days as it warmed up slightly. As we got very close to the point of turn around to start heading back, we spotted some movement about 15 meters of the road on a fire-break and to our amazement it was a male Cheetah rolling around on the sand!

It got up and walked along the fire-break and parallel to the road, followed by 2 other males, 3 in total. We had a spectacular sighting for about 10 minutes as they came out onto the road, one crossing and then back again, another getting on a termite mound to survey the area; constantly stopping to sniff the trees and bushes and also leaving their own scent, before gradually making their way into the bush until eventually we could only catch glimpses of them walking off! A brilliant sighting to signal the end of 3 great days' game viewing!

13 March 2016

This afternoon we started a brand new safari with 3 guests; Collin from the States and George and Lena from Germany.

On arrival in the Park we did an Afternoon drive before checking in. Our drive started well with 2 large Buffalo Bulls in a waterhole and then a good collection of general game; A large herd of Impala, a few Kudu, a small herd of Zebra, a female Giraffe and a large Rock Monitor, all in one very busy spot!

We then made our way to a nearby Waterhole and as we turned down the road to the waterhole found a large Nile Monitor crossing the road. At the water there was a huge Crocodile sunning itself on a rock on the water's edge, as well as a solitary Hippo in the water.

After leaving the water we came across 2 Elephant Bulls, one young adult and one fully grown, quite a large bull with an impressive set of tusks! We watched them leisurely feeding, slowly making their way closer to the road and affording us a very good sighting in the process.

On our way to camp we saw, far ahead of us in the road, one Wild dog running down the road, but it went into the tall grass as we approached and we didn't find it again, but all in all, a great first afternoon on safari!

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