Finally! The BIG FIVE!
19.05.2016 - 19.05.2016
As we arrive at our lunch stop, a memory of 29 elephants wander past in the distance. As they do.
We are the only humans here and have a choice of tables – we pick a couple in the shade.
What a delightful picnic area – there are so many birds here I am too busy photographing to eat!
Speckled Fronted Weaver
Rufous Tailed Weaver
Grey Headed Sparrow
Rufous Tailed Weaver
White Headed Buffalo Weavers
A family of White Headed Buffalo Weavers amuses me for quite some time with their antics.
All the time we’ve been here the giraffe has been standing perfectly still, staring at something in the distance. However much we train our binoculars in that direction, we cannot fathom out what is grabbing his attention.
With full bellies we continue our afternoon game drive.
We see a couple of cars in the distance, near a tree, and go off to investigate. It’s a leopard and she has something up in the branches with her that she is eating.
On closer inspection, we can see that she is trying to pull the fur off some skin, most likely from a baby wildebeest.
On a branch the other side of the tree is her cub, a one-year old male, fast asleep.
Mum is making sure nothing is wasted, pulling and tugging at the hide.
When nothing edible is left, she takes the skin off to a hiding place for safekeeping.
Making her way down the tree, she calls out to her son, then jumps down to the ground.
The cub wakes up and follows his mum down into the long grass where they disappear from our view.
How exciting! Being nocturnal hunters and solitary animals, leopards are the most difficult of the cats to see on safari.
This now completes the BIG FIVE on this safari - a term coined by big-game hunters, referring to the five most difficult – and dangerous - animals in Africa to hunt on foot: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo.
As I have said a couple of times before, Lyn and Chris are having such incredible luck out here – we’d been on several safaris before we saw all the Big Five on the same trip!
And a couple of giraffes
Spotting a tree full of vultures, my first thought is “what’s died?”
They are also circling above in great numbers, but however much we look on the horizon, straining our eyes through the binoculars, we cannot see anything of significance.
During the day hippos generally wallow in shallow water such as rivers and lakes, coming out at night to graze. It is therefore quite unusual to see them on land in the day.
This guy cannot stop yawning – he is obviously dazed and confused. Maybe he just flew in from Europe and is jet-lagged?
Formed at the meeting of three rivers, Retima Pool attracts a great number of hippos, who are believed to crowd here in order to protect their calves against crocodiles.
The noise of 200 hippos (the American guy next to me claims he counted them) belching, grunting, farting, pooping and splashing, is a sound I won’t forget in a hurry. I am just very grateful that videos don’t record aromas. Yet.
Brown Snake Eagle
Having read about a white giraffe (appropriately named Omo) that had been spotted a few months ago in Tarangire National Park, I added that to my wish list this year. We didn’t see it, but I am quite excited to see a rather pale baby giraffe this afternoon.
Not an albino, the giraffe is suffering from leucism, a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation resulting in pale or patchy colouration of the skin.
We see more hippos as we cross the river again making our way back to camp.
The sun is getting low now, painting the sky with yellows, pinks and purples.
Our tented camp is built in amongst the rocks that constitute the Kimasi Kopje, and we can just about make out the tents in the failing light.
Amazingly it is still not completely dark when we reach the camp – it’s the first day we have had some real chill time since we arrived in Tanzania: we actually have half an hour spare this evening!
When we go to into the bathroom, we discover that while we were out, squatters have moved in, clinging to dear life on our shower curtain.
Mbuzi Mawe is a super place, and the restaurant is intimate, friendly and relaxed, yet luxurious. The general manager walks around the tables this evening, making sure everyone is happy. Tonight they are celebrating a honeymoon couple, with more singing, clapping and cake!
Yet again the food comes out under shiny domes, but there is some confusion as to which plate is which. I guess it is not so easy to see when it is all under wrap like that.
Starter of garlic salami, Waldorf salad and balsamic reduction.
Main course: Rajma Masala - a 'curry' of red beans in s spicy sauce - absolutely delicious!
We retire to bed and a restful sleep after another amazing day in the mighty Serengeti! Calabash Adventures - and Malisa of course - have done us proud yet again.