Posts Tagged With: safari

Monkey assault (The lost South African post)

Early this morning a troop of Vervet monkeys penetrated the perimeter of camp. Swinging through the trees, running on the tin roofs and launching onto the tarp like a trampoline, making an incredible noise.

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They drive Chuck, the camp dog, crazy; he runs around chasing them with absolutely no hope of catching one.  They run amok: making a mess, stealing food and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

I love the monkeys, but the camp staff and dog, not so much.

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Spot the monkeys.

 

Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Big Five

We had seen four of the big five in Balule Nature Reserve and then spotted a white rhino late in the day at Kruger National Park. The big five animals are lion, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, rhino. The term comes from when big game hunters came to Africa to hunt. Now tourists come just to shoot them on their cameras in the wild. People become obsessed about seeing them, even considering their trip unsuccessful if they don’t spot them.

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I want to see everything, not just the big 5, including birds; I have to admit I am a closeted bird watcher and can’t believe how many new birds I have seen; I have positively identified well over a hundred. Helen calls me a ‘twitcher’, a derogatory British term for bird watcher! I don’t care, I love birds.

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Yellow bill hornbill on termite hill

 

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Marshall Eagle takes flight

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Hello gorgeous. Lappet-faced Vulture

Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hangover

After a great night of a fantastic bush dinner and lots of drinks finally everyone was off to bed, but the host of camp Joe, invited me for one last nightcap. He poured me a large shot of Jaegermeister, liquor of the devil. I know better, I can’t handle liquor like I used to, but I have to relearn this lesson every year or so.

I woke up to the usually quiet Richard (the tracker) pounding on our door “are you coming on the game drive, or what??!!” It was already after six, we were late for the morning game drive; he must have tried to get us up a few times already. “We will be there in a minute.” I hopped out of bed and staggered, I had a crushing headache and it felt like a nuclear meltdown in my stomach. I chugged a glass of water to put out the fire in my belly, it stayed down for about a minute. Helen was also not at her best either, and now after seeing my condition, said “let’s not go”. I refused, not wanting to miss our last game drive in this area. We got dressed in a hurry; thankfully it was only us on the drive and we weren’t holding anyone else up.

I can’t think of anything worse for a hangover than getting up at six am and going on a three-hour bumpy off-road ride under the African sun. Halfway through the drive we stopped for a coffee break. There was no way I could drink coffee, all I could muster was to grab a bottle of water and lay in the dirt.

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After the break I was doing ok-ish; it was worth the pain as we saw a large herd of Cape Buffalo, huge animals with massive horns. We had not seen buffalo before, it was magical as they moved slowly around us in the Land Rover, apparently totally unconcerned with us, or my condition.

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Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Elephant-Palooza

In our week in the bush, we have literally seen hundreds of elephants. Elephants everywhere, in the water, on the road, fighting, with babies, knocking over trees with ease.

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We’ve seen so many, now we only stop for something like baby elephants chasing warthogs!

Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Leopard

Out to find a leopard this morning. After some hunting around, we found the carcass of a young kudu dragged under some bushes. It was a fresh kill and the predator that caused this should still be close by.

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We drove off-road through the underbrush, over fallen trees, making our own path in the bush. Behind a rock was a long black and orange spotted tail, we approached to within six feet of a male leopard with a full belly laying in the brush, clearly in a food coma, relaxing and not paying any attention to us at all.

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Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Bluff charge

Out on a game drive today and we passed close by a large bull elephant.  He turned and faced us, flapped his ears out and started to run directly at us! Thankfully, he stopped about twenty yards away. Helen took a few pictures, understandably one’s a little blurry; her hands were shaking uncontrollably.

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Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Python!

We were told that the python in the rafters of the observation tower was friendly? A friendly python?  So we walked out to take a look; he was massive, coiled up in the timbers.

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After the morning game drive, we went out to read in the tower and the python was still in his spot. I joked, “we’ll be fine unless we look up and he is not there.” Sure enough after about an hour I looked up and he had slipped away without a sound. I looked all over and there was no sign of him anywhere.

Helen went back to the room and I would furtively glance around every so often. Suddenly, I could see the python’s head sticking out of the roof looking right at me! I stayed out there but it was hard concentrating on my book with my friend staring down at me.

I heard some noise; looked up and he was slowly coming out of the reeds of the roof to his perch on the rafters. Five minutes later he stopped; he was not fully out of the roof but there was a least ten feet of snake that I could see. That thing was a monster. I prudently decided to go in for lunch.

 

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Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lions!

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sunrise

We took our first game drive early, 6:00 am, when the animals are most active before the African sun becomes too hot. We set off in the well-used but reliable Land Rover, with our ranger Greg, and tracker, Richard, who sits on a seat mounted to the hood of the rover. We crested a small hill and immediately saw a lioness lounging on a rock in the sun.

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Greg pulled within ten yards and it was only after we stopped that we noticed another lioness. Greg pointed out two more lions in the grass, less than six feet away, directly in front of me, totally camouflaged, almost impossible to see.

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The lions were totally unconcerned with our presence, like we were not there at all. Greg, explained that The Rover is neither prey nor predator, so the animals for the most part ignore it.  Suddenly, one of the lions got up and walked towards us, Greg: “trust me: remain calm and don’t move”. Easy to do; I wasn’t even breathing. The lioness came within a few feet of the Rover and did a full circle around us; I could have leaned out and patted her on the head.

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Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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