Monday, November 7, 2016

On Safari With Gert From 3 November 2016

3 November 2016

We started a new Safari yesterday afternoon with Matt and Hayley from Australia.

After settling in they went on a Sundowner drive which was thoroughly enjoyed.

This morning after a quick breakfast, we left for a different camp, with quite some distance to travel, which meant that we spent the majority of the day on a Game drive.

This worked out well as we saw an amazing variety of animals throughout the day, aided by the fact that we had nice cool weather until about lunch time, which led to a fair amount of predator activity. At the end of the day, the hardest part is choosing 2 highlights to write about and if neither of the Cheetah or Leopard sightings make the highlights list, it's a good indicator of how the day went!

We had our first Lion sighting of the day fairly early on, when we found 2 of 3 males that had apparently killed a young Buffalo a while earlier. The 2 we found were done feeding and relaxing in the open away from the 1 still left on the kill. They were both youngish males, a few years before their prime; most likely nomadic and took their chances with a large buffalo herd in the area. While we were watching, they got up and started moving parallel to the road, stopping to scent mark here and there. They slowly made their way closer and closer to us, providing us with a brilliant sighting as they eventually crossed the road and found a new spot to relax.

We had 2 more Lion, Spotted Hyena, Cheetah and 2 Leopard sightings throughout the day, but the pick of them all came late in the day when we spotted a lone Honey Badger foraging! Seeing this animal at any time of day is very special, but in broad and rather warm daylight is just extremely lucky and we watched as it bustled along, with it's nose on the ground, stopping every now and then to dig up and wolf down an unsuspecting snack! A memorable sighting indeed and a great day on Safari!

4 November 2016

We left camp just before sunrise this morning in an attempt to make the most of the conditions, as it was expected to become a very hot day.

We were rewarded early on, with a good sighting of 2 large male Lions in their prime and 2 lionesses with them. When we arrived at the sighting one male was walking from a waterhole towards where the other 3 lay and joined them, keeping a very close eye on one female in particular. They appeared to be smelling something of interest in the breeze, as they kept looking back in one direction, but eventually got very comfortable in the morning sun and we left them to it.

Later on we stopped at a view point overlooking a riverbed with a few pools of water left. A large Elephant bull was slowly approaching the water, stopping off to snack along the way, when we noticed a large Crocodile in the shade of the tree which the Elephant was very keen to feed on! The Elephant kicked at the Crocodile a couple of times, the Crocodile in turn opening it's mouth to the Elephant in self defense and reluctantly moving away a few meters, while the Elephant was happily browsing. Eventually the Crocodile had enough and scampered into the water, giving the Elephant such a fright that he ran off in the opposite direction and didn't even go for a drink in the end!

After a late breakfast we moved to a new camp where we went for a late afternoon drive. While stopped at a spot overlooking a stretch of river, some Impala had just finished drinking and were making their way across the wide riverbed. They suddenly stopped and all stared in one direction. After a while a Leopard came walking out past them, not really showing much interest in the Impala and we soon realized why, as it already had an Impala up a nearby tree. We lost sight of the Leopard in a thicket and waited to see if it would get up the tree, but to no avail and we moved on bringing an end to another great day on Safari!

5 November 2016

We left early this morning at Sunrise and again it became apparent quite early that it was going to be a hot day!

One of our early highlights came as we crossed the river on a low-level bridge. First, we spotted a pregnant looking female Hyena on the prowl in the riverbed. She had a quick splash in a pool before continuing on her way, eyeing some Waterbuck along the way, but they kept a close eye on her and she moved past. She appeared to be following a scent as she had her nose close to the ground and carried on into the bush, crossing the road right next to us.

We then spotted some commotion in the water and it turned out that there were at least 4 Crocodiles feeding on a fresh Hippo carcass in the shallows! The crocs were eagerly tearing off chunks of Hippo and lifting their heads out of the water to swallow, also attracting the attention of a Saddle-billed Stork and another Hyena which decided to go investigate, but wisely avoiding the action, and leaving the spoils to the Crocodiles!

After breakfast we moved to a new camp and shortly before arrival stopped at a drainage line where a herd of Elephant were enjoying a mud bath. There were also 4 old Buffalo bulls around the mud pool, with a few Baboons on a nearby Ridge, overlooking the scene. We then noticed a lioness walking past the Buffalo into a shady spot on another rocky ridge and getting comfortable in the shade - as it turns out - to join another female and a young male. Some of the Elephants kept browsing closer and closer and we had a bit of a showdown, as the Elephants, assisted by some of the Buffalo, tried to chase off the Lions, whom in turn were loathe to give up their shady spot on the rocks and stood their ground. All of this accompanied by the Baboons' belated alarm calling at the presence of the big cats from their vantage points!

We ended the day with a relaxed drive along the river front with many Hippo out grazing and a variety of bird species and general game visiting the water for a drink.

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