Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On Safari With Gert From 2 September 2016

2 September 2016

This afternoon we started a new Safari with 1 guest from Canada.

We did a short afternoon drive during which we found a couple of herds of Zebra and a very impressive large Kudu bull browsing nearby.

One of the highlights of the drive was a large herd of Elephant with a large proportion of young. Although this was a rather distant sighting, the herd was in a shallow valley and it was great to see them from above, spread out over a large area, leisurely feeding along.

The other highlights of the afternoon were some very nice bird sightings, including an African Harrier-Hawk, a female African Fish-Eagle calling for her partner and a Lilac-breasted Roller in perfect light, posing nicely for a few pictures before taking off; a nice start to the Safari.

3 September 2016

An early start, we left camp at sunrise after a quick breakfast. Not long into our game drive we found what appeared to be a lone female Giraffe. Now although Giraffe do not form very strong social bonds, a female is not often alone. As she browses she stopped every now and then, looking attentively in one direction and sure enough, her young calf of about 2 months, that until that point was obscured in a thicket, slowly emerged and joined the mother for a suckle.

The most interesting sighting for the day was when we saw a small troop of Chacma Baboon with a female walking along carrying something in her one hand. After a good look, it became apparent that she was carrying the, mostly skeletal, remains of a deceased baby. I have seen this slightly heartbreaking occurrence before, but only until 3 or 4 days after death. This illustrates the very strong mothering instincts, taken to the extreme in this case, climbing in and around trees and feeding with one hand occupied to her own detriment!

We ended the day with a large herd of Elephant at a waterhole, a perfect end to a very successful day on Safari!

4 September 2016

We headed out on game drive this morning after an early breakfast and had a great day awaiting us, with sightings of the all the members of your big 5 as well as Wild dogs and Spotted Hyena.

One of the highlights was when we found a half-eaten Impala hanging in the fork of a tree about 5 meters of the road! On closer inspection we managed to also spot the Leopard that put it there; a female lying a few meters further in, in a shady spot. She was quite full and appeared to be getting very comfortable, eventually lying down flat in her shady spot, but in the open from the right angle, so we managed to get some very good views of her!

Another highlight was a stop at a waterhole, where some Hippo were lying on the bank sunbathing. Various adult bull Elephants were drinking at the same waterhole and a couple were enjoying a thorough mud bath, kicking around in the mud to loosen it and using their trunks to splash and throw mud covering themselves completely, a perfect way to cool down and also applying very effective sunscreen!

These were just 2 of our many amazing sightings throughout the day, which also included a beautiful female Bateleur perched in a Marula tree nearby. Another very successful day on Safari!

5 September 2016

After an early breakfast and loading luggage, we left camp for our last morning drive.

We found various herds of Elephant in close proximity to each other as well as several males around the fringes of the herds. There was a fair amount of testosterone around as many of the males are starting to go into musth and we were treated to a display by some young males, trunk-tussling and play-fighting to test their own and each other's strength. This display also included some of the bulls pushing over and even completely uprooting some small trees and waving them around and then of course leaving them in the road! All of this was quietly observed by an older, mature bull who obviously had the respect of the younger bulls, for as soon as he approached and made his deep rumbling voice heard, the youngsters quickly fell into line and behaved as if nothing at all was going on!

We then stopped off at a waterhole with quite a bit of activity surrounding it. A bachelor herd of 9 Buffalo lay on a sandbank close to a large Crocodile on the edge of the water. Around the same waterhole we also found a pair of Egyptian Geese, Water Thick-knee,  Hamerkop, Pied Kingfisher, Grey Heron and a breeding pair of magnificent Saddle-billed Stork!

We left the park late morning, bringing an end to a great 4 days on Safari.

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