Our first game drive with Exeter did not let us down. First we saw these beautiful blue wildebeest, our first time seeing them. Then this eagle posed for us in silhouette. As it got darker we saw jackals eating berries under the jackalberry tree. :-) Then three vultures in a tree who didn't stick around for us but left quite abruptly. Then this leopard walking through the darkness, gorgeous!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Our first afternoon at Exeter and it's shaping up to be quite something! From our patio here, we have already seen several vervet monkeys and elephants. After a quick lunch, while we sat exhausted on the deck, the waiter asked if I wanted fruit salad. As this was our hottest afternoon, I said that fruit salad sounded great! We passed the time watching the croc in the river. When the croc went for something! It missed the first thing it went for, but the splash attracted our attention and we saw it go for this bushbuck, which almost got away but the croc got its foot and dragged it back in. There was a lot of thrashing and splashing. The whole thing was extremely exciting, and this was the best picture we managed. After that, this elephant posed in front of a tree that he seemed quite attached to.
We managed to watch the nature channel a bit, even though we had to pack to get ready to leave Singita. Today there were some hippo crossing the river, and some impala on the opposite bank. Oddly enough the impala lined up single file to make their way to the watering hole, a behavior we had not seen before. Interesting!
Our last game drive at Singita, and it was a doozy! First this lion walking towards us and looking quite magical. Then we spotted this family of drawf mongoose. I had seen a family of banded mongoose at the camp one day, these were about half the size. Next a little egret, the lack of plumes on the head indicates that this is a juvenile. Near the egret we also saw a croc in the water, and some hippo in the water.
Again a great sighting of elephants, followed by what looks like a steenbok which Jack calls Bambi. Oddly enough a hippo went trotting by, surprisingly light on its feet. Then some waterbuck learning to fight and use their horns, while a fish eagle checks out its favorite lunch spot. Finishing up with our second giraffe sighting of the drive. What a way to end our time at this lodge!
Monday, September 29, 2008
The afternoon drive we didn't see any big cats. One of the few drives without them! We did see this beautiful waterbuck having a drink. Then we found this large group of rhino. The big one in the back is the dominant male. The others basically formed a rhino wall in front of him.
The nature channel was good to us today. The elephants were on their daily river crossing. The Goliath Heron posed for us in the sun at last, so that we could get quite good pictures of it. Then some adult buffalo came for a drink and crossed the river. One of them was good enough to cross just next to the goliath heron, so you can see the size of the bird. That's a full grown male buffalo, showing just how huge that heron is!
What a drive! First we put ourselves in the path of these elephants. As you can see in the first picture, so did a brave bird. :-) The baby elephant was checking out the car. The others were completely unimpressed and went around us like the car was a rock. Then another giraffe sighting. Then the leopards, mother and son. We almost missed them! The ranger and tracker were looking for the leopard and following tracks near the staff village. They gave up, saying we'd check back later, and we drove away from the staff village on the main road. Then our fellow tourist in the back said, "Stop! Leopard! Wait! Stop! Leopard!" several times. And there were two gorgeous leopards that we followed for a while.
While following the leopard we noticed this snake skin hanging on some branches, still wet from dew. We found the buffalo herd and saw this calf getting a meal on the go! Then a sighting of a cheetah, who crosses through this lodge's area every 4-5 days. We spent the last hour walking back to the lodge through the bush, and saw this giraffe walking away from us. It's quite rare to even get a glimpse of them when on foot, so we were lucky.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
On the afternoon drive, first we watched some baboons playing on this cliff / wall. They were just climbing up and then rolling/falling down, having fun, they were hilarious to watch. Then my special request, hippos in the water. And as a grand finale, we found 2 of the 6 dominant male lions walking through the dark. They were gorgeous and reeked of power.
Another morning drive worth getting up super early for! This kudu hid behind the screen of thorns, to me the picture looks like it's in a winter wonderland although that is not at all the case. A quick giraffe sighting, with this yellow-billed hornbill nearby. My interest in birds is starting to pick up. :-) Then a rhino, followed by a visit to a hyena den. We saw a few females and several cubs, the cubs were nursing for a while and then scampered about. They were as cute as possible given that were hyenas. Then more zebra, and another leopard! Straight from the leopard to two male lions, part of the coalition that runs this territory. Finishing up with more rhino.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The afternoon drive was exciting! We had a great sighting of this gorgeous giraffe, then a few vervet monkeys, and this bluebird I could not identify even with my fancy African Bird Book. Which probably means it's a common bluebird, found everywhere! After that, we came across our very first sighting of a leopard. Spectacular!