As our 5 day wildlife safari comes to an end, we can reflect on a very special experience in which we have been privileged to see some of the most amazing animals on this planet.
During our 5 day stay we have seen two endangered species; the black rhino, one with her baby, and wild dogs rarely seen, and yesterday we arrived just after they had taken down an impala.
As hard as it is to see them deavour their ‘kill’, it’s really interesting to see the alpha male stand aside until the females and pups have all had a feed, and then he comes in to take the leftovers.
The impala are the most common animal in the bush; there are thousands of them, and as they are small deer, they are at the top of the list for the big predators, like lions and leopards as well as wild dogs!
We have also seen a number of elephants, some huge bulls and also elephant families. The babies are so cute, but of course they grow, and at the moment the big bulls are what they call, in ‘musth’. This means that their testosterone levels can be up to 60 times higher than normal, causing them to behave very aggressively. There have been a couple of occasions when a bull has attempted to charge, not at our jeep, thankfully, but apparently the driver had to stop and keep revving the engine until eventually the elephant backed off. If you drive away, they will think they have won and go after other vehicles to
As well as the the black rhino, we have seen white rhino; both are enormous animals, but quite gentle. They eat a plant based diet so aren’t constantly on the look out for food, because they are surrounded by it. The are also now removing the rhinos horn before the poachers get to them, which makes their long term survival much more likely.
One of the most spectacular sights we have seen are the giraffe. They are so tall; you have to see it to believe it. They will often be hidden behind a bush and then suddenly look up and you just see their head peeping out at the top. They have such attractive faces and seem very interested in us. Of course they can be quite vicious too, but when you see them just standing they look very serene. Today we saw one who had lost an eye, not sure how, but he kept bumping into trees because he could only see one way. Very sad.
Actually any animal who is injured becomes prey for the predators, but the park rangers don’t interfere unless they have been injured by or because of human behaviour.
For me, the highlight of the safari has to be the lions. Both our night and day encounters were incredible. We first saw a pride of females with their lion cubs in the early evening, and as it got dark, we followed them for a while when they went hunting, which they do under cover of darkness.
The next morning, we came across another pride of lions, but this time there was a male with them. What a treat! We sat still in the jeep and they walked all round us, and the male passed right by me. I could have put my hand out and touched him, that’s how close he was, but it’s not recommended!
We followed them for quite some time before they finally disappeared into the bush. I just can’t believe how lucky we were.
I should also mention the beautifully marked zebra, of which we have seen a few, and then this morning we finally found water buffalo; they are so aggressive looking with their wavy horns across their foreheads, and they move very fast, it’s incredible!
We have seen wart hogs and nyala, a type of antelope, and some amazing birds, including a vulture. Some of the smaller birds are so beautifully coloured.
Around the camp we’ve had baboons, who are very naughty and love to pinch things or pull them apart! There are also vervet which are small grey monkeys and very sweet.
So all in all it has been absolutely incredible, and what we have seen and experienced has confirmed my view that animals deserve the right to live on this planet, without threat to them or their environment from human habitation.
We can learn so much from them.
’til next time,