Monday, September 12, 2016

On Safari With Gert From 9 September 2016

9 September 2016

We left camp at sunrise this morning, after an early breakfast, for our first morning drive of the Safari.

It warmed up quite early so we were lucky to find some predators early on; a rather full female spotted Hyena was lying by her den-entrance, trying to rest but every now and then her ears would perk up and she would look around interestedly in a certain direction. It soon became apparent what she was interested in, as a few hundred meters further on, we found other members of most likely the same clan, 2 adults and 4 youngsters of about 5 months old. They were quite playful and active, especially the youngsters, chasing each other around even though they appeared to have eaten very recently, as a few of them had fresh blood smears around their mouths, throats and even paws!

A little while later we came across an old male Lion lying in the sparse shade of a small tree. He would lift his head every now and then to sniff the breeze or watch as some Impala moved past, at what they perceived to be a safe distance! There were a few Vultures circling high overhead and he also appeared to look up at them quite regularly, perhaps in the hope of being led to an easy food-source.

After lunch and some relaxing time back at camp, we went out for a late afternoon drive,  during which it was Elephants, elephants and more elephants, when we found what appeared to 3 different herds close to each other and close to a large waterhole - the main attraction for them during these dry times. Several young males were putting on a show, drinking mud bathing and play-fighting in and around the waterhole! One was nearly fully submerged, on his side, occasionally popping out the tip of his trunk for a quick breath!

A special sighting to end off a great day!

10 September 2016

After loading luggage and an early breakfast, we set off for our final morning drive of the Safari.

We started off on a high note, with a beautiful bull Elephant in very good condition, feeding right next to the road, occasionally turning the tip of his trunk in our direction to get our scent - the only sign that he was very slightly interested in our presence.

One of the early highlights was an African Harrier-Hawk, flying with it's lazy wing beats from tree to tree, stopping off to investigate various tree activities for the contents, as these birds mainly feed on hole-nesting species and their chicks, using their long legs to pull out whatever they find inside.

The next highlight was when we found what is possibly the most relaxed female Steenbok ever, browsing right next to our vehicle. These antelope are normally fairly quick to run for cover if they get too much attention, but this female wasn't bothered by our presence at all and just kept picking the fresh green leaves off small shrubs next to the road; quite a special sighting considering that they are often just seen running through the long grass.

We found 4 Giraffe, 2 females and two calves, in the road shortly before drop-off, a fitting end to a great days on Safari!

11 September 2016

After an early breakfast we departed on the first day of our Birding Safari with Jonathan Hardacre.

It was an absolutely brilliant day's birding with great sightings throughout the day.

However, a few sightings stood out. At a large mud pool we found a gorgeous breeding pair of Saddle-billed Storks, hunting along the edge of the pool.

Not much further, we found a family of Southern Ground-hornbill foraging along the road, flicking through the leaf-litter with their long beaks, looking for a snack. A breeding pair of Wahlberg's Eagle, one dark morph and one pale morph were courting and also flying back and forth with nesting material, restoring the nest they've used repeatedly over the last few seasons and putting on quite a show for us!

A great day of birding and looking forward to what the next few days will bring.


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