An eventful last morning in the Serengeti
08.11.2018 - 08.11.2018
Nicely refreshed after a break to stretch our legs, use the facilities, eat our breakfast picnic packs and photograph the hippos at Retima Hippo Pool, we set off again to “see what nature has to offer us”.
We don't have to travel far before we see our first animal, These cute little antelopes are within the grounds of the picnic site. Dik Diks mate for life and you usually see two of them together, such as here.
Also at the rest stop is a family of warthogs, including these arorable baby piglets.
Tower of Giraffes
Mum keeps her 2-3 day old baby close.
Look at those ears! The baby is all legs and ears, it seems.
The baby suckles her mum.
While the rest of the voyeuristic family look on.
Malisa stops the car near a few other vehicles. “Lioness” he informs us. We all look in the distance but none of us can spot the cat.
“There” Malisa exclaims with more than a hint of amusement in his voice, pointing downwards, “right by the car”.
She has been out hunting and has returned to where she thinks she left her babies last night, and is now searching for them.
Even the abandoned aardvark hole is inspected.
Appearing to be in distress, she stops and calls out to her cubs, but there is no obvious reply.
"Have you seen my babies?"
Turning this way and that, there is still no sign of her offspring.
On the side of her head a nasty gash is indicative of a much-too-close encounter with the horn of a wildebeest or buffalo.
As she walks from one side of the road to the other between the vehicles gathered here, still calling out, I feel like we are somewhat invading her personal space, meddling in nature's progress. Is our presence preventing her cubs from coming forward?
We leave her to carry on looking for her lion cubs and continue on our way, as we have a fair distance to travel today.
Above us a Marabou Stork is circling, creating a striking image against the bubbling white clouds.
An altogether larger bird.
White Rumped Helmetshrike
As we pull up at the waterhole, Malisa announces that we have a flat tyre and gets out of the vehicle to put the spare on. Before he can even get anywhere near the jack, he has to get our luggage out, which he then puts of the roof for safety (the green bits you see on the roof are a couple of our bags).
In the distance we can see a herd of elephants approaching the waterhole and we become aware that we are right in the path between them and the water, which causes us some concern, especially as we realise that we are unable to move the car anywhere with one wheel off.
As the majestic animals rapidly approach, we urge Malisa to get back in the car; from the safety of which we watch them all walk past and around us in order to reach the water where they spend their time splashing around, drinking and bathing.
One of the elephants sports a shortened trunk, probably the result of a crocodile attack (or maybe even a poacher), although it does not seem to hamper him much as he appears to have learnt to live with his disability.
Bath time is over for now, and the large animals clumsily climb out of the waterhole.
I'd love to say they do it with elegance and grace, but the truth is anything but.
Meanwhile there are still only three wheels on our wagon.
There is an unwritten rule of safaris that you don't park between another vehicle and the animal sighting; but some people have no consideration for others. Not only is he blocking my view of half the waterhole, his aerial is dissecting all my photos in the other half. Thankfully this sort of thing happens very rarely, but he is most definitely not a good advert for his company.
I can get rid of the aerial in Photoshop, as I have in the image below, but that is not the point. Malisa asks him politely to move on, and he does.
Once all the elephants have finished bathing, have climbed out of the waterhole and are on their way to pastures new, another driver pulls his vehicle up right against ours to block the elephants' view of Operation Tyre Change.
Malisa, with the help of is mate from the other vehicle, gets out of the car again and manages to complete that tyre change in record time. Phew.
With a fresh new tyre, we move ever further south towards the exit gate of Serengeti.
Thank you Calabash for arranging this amazing safari for us.