05.11.2018 - 05.11.2018
Even before we are dressed and getting ready to go out on today's safari, at the unearthly hour of 05:15, we can hear the roar of a lion. It sounds terribly close by.
Our 'breakfast this morning' (as in the first animal we see today) is a giraffe, just sauntering past the camp. The sun is still considering its next move while painting the sky with purples and pinks.
A few metres further along, we see a mother topi with her very young baby, the kid being maybe a day or so old.
Hyenas are Malisa's favourite animals. While at certain angles and in a certain light, they can look kinda cute (I suppose); at other times the hyena's sloping back gives it a rather menacing demeanour.
These, the smallest of Tanzania's antelopes, mate for life and are often found in family units of three such as this.
Avert your eyes as a couple of Thomson's Gazelles put on an energetic display of early morning sex for us.
When I say “energetic”, I mean that he is putting a lot of effort in, while she is so not interested (preferring to continue eating), resulting in a number of aborted attempts.
This must be particularly frustrating as Thomson's Gazelles only mate twice a year to coincide with babies being born at the end of the rainy season after a gestation period of 5-6 months.
Success at last! Although you may notice she is still eating.
This bundle of fluff is just about the cutest thing we'll see this morning.
Black Breasted Snake Eagle
Black Backed Jackal
We come across this jackal having his breakfast and stay with him for a while as he (unsuccessfully) tries to get the last leg of a hare down his throat.
A few hot air balloons glide effortlessly by.
While Pygmy Falcons score highly on the cuteness scale, the Marabou Stork has to have been hiding behind a bush when looks were given out. There is nothing remotely attractive about this scavenger bird.
They seem to be 'everywhere'.
The pond is also home to a rather large crocodile, sunning himself on the bank. Crocodiles are often found with their mouths wide open like this, hoping that any rotting food leftover in their teeth will attract insects and the insects in turn will draw birds to enter the cavity... and wham!
Also hippo wallowing in the mud. As they do.
Suddenly an almighty racket occurs as the Egyptian Geese on the shore start urgent and deafening honking.
We soon discover the reason for their panic: Mr Crocodile is on the move. How exciting, it is something we have very, very rarely seen, if at all.
He soon settles down and the geese seem to be almost mocking him by getting dangerously close.
Meanwhile, the hot air balloon has finished its morning flight and landed safely. As safely as you can while surrounded by wild animals.
Lilac Breasted Roller
No blog entry from Tanzania is complete with at least one roller picture.
The original vegetarian sausages anyone? These elongated fruits are much loved by a variety of animals, and, although poisonous in their raw state, humans have been known to use them for medicinal purposes to treat fungal infections, eczema, psoriasis, boils, diabetes, pneumonia. More importantly, the fruit can also be used to ferment beer!
Lazing in the shade, the four lions are nonetheless very aware of the Thomson's Gazelle not terribly far away behind them. The Tommy, however, is totally oblivious to the danger lurking underneath the tree.
With a jolt, he realises that he could so easily become breakfast and runs for his life. Good move Tommy, good move.
Yellow Throated Sandgrouse
Often found in large flocks, these noisy birds seem to just keep coming and coming until there are sandgrouse everywhere.
White Rumped Helmetshrike
This is by far the largest herd of elephants I have ever seen. Just as we think we have counted them all, more appear. And then some. There are at least 75 of them, with elephants as far as the eye can see in two directions. Wow, wow and wow.
Nestled in the shade of a tree, three lionesses with two cubs seem to have drawn quite a crowd with more coming all the time.
Having had the luxury so far of generally being on our own at sightings (or at most, a couple of other vehicles), seeing so many trucks in one place comes as a bit of a shock. It doesn't take long, however, before photographing the lions seems to take second place for these people as their attention is drawn away from the cats to our vehicle. Big Bertha is now the main attraction and 'everyone' wants to take her photo. For those who have not been following this blog, Big Bertha is my newly acquired, and impressively massive, 600mm lens.
On a small mound just behind the lions, is a band mongooses, with their sentries keeping a close eye on the big cats and other dangers.
Leaving the lions behind, we make our way to one of our favourite picnic sites for breakfast.
Thank you Calabash Adventures for yet another fantastic morning in the bush.