Our last full day in the bush
08.11.2018 - 08.11.2018
Because we are moving on from Lobo to Ndutu today, we load up the car with all our luggage this morning. A troupe of Vervet Monkeys takes that as an opportunity to check out our car to see if we have any easily accessible food. We don't, and they are shooed away empty-handed.
I see an elephant close to the road in front of us, but find myself dismayed and terribly embarrassed when it turns out to be a tree. Doh. For the rest of the day I am teased mercilessly about it.
Zebra in the Sunrise
Hyena in the Sunrise
Having had some good sightings here a couple of years ago, we take a detour to Togoro Plains to “see what nature has to offer us today” (one of Malisa's favourite sayings).
On the top of a rock at Togoro Kopjes, two mamas with their seven babies are sunning themselves.
They are a fair distance away, so we move to try and get a closer view, but that means the sun is in the wrong direction for good photos.
After a short while they leave their original rock and head to another. First one of the adult females, then the rest of them, one by one.
Their destination is another kopje nearby, and while the mums easily make it to the top, many of the cubs are struggling to climb the rocks.
"Are you coming kids?"
"Mum? Where are you?"
"I think she went this way guys"
"Wait for me!"
They get so far, then hang around exploring the rock while they try to work out their route from there to the top.
Meanwhile, mum wonders where her babies are.
“It's obviously not this way lads, I've had a look”.
Watching their different personalities as they try to follow their mamas up the steep slopes of the rocky outcrop is such a delight.
Yay! The first cub has made it to the top to join his mum.
He is soon joined by the next little lion to brave it all the way. Mum doesn't look too pleased to see them, however.
"What took you so long boys?"
And then there were three.
Meanwhile, back on the lower rock...
One particularly timid little scaredycat is really unsure and has to be coaxed from the top by the adult female. It never ceases to amaze me how these cats communicate – we have seen it in so many ways and incidents now.
"But, but, it is slippery...?"
"C'mon, you can do it. Be brave!"
“I guess that just leaves us then, bruv”
As soon as all the little ones make it to the top of the second kopje, one of the lionesses goes off to see about getting the large brood some lunch. We surmise the hartebeest we see in the distance are on today's menu.
Meanwhile, the kids explore their new playground.
Spooked by the lions, these small antelopes prance from one rock to another. Their hooves have a rubber-like coating to give them a better grip on rocky surfaces.
The lions seems to have spotted them too but appear too lazy to do anything about it. Not that they would stand much a chance of catching the fast-moving klipspringers, not would they provide much food for nine hungry lions.
This has been such a heart-warming and entertaining encounter, one of the highlights of our trip so far.
Dark Chanting Goshawk
Lappet Faced Vulture
These three cheetahs under a tree in the distance flatly refuse to do anything other than chilling in the shade, however long we hang around. Don't they know who we are?
Crocodile in the Orangi River
Retima Hippo Pool
Retima Hippo Pool is a bend in the river where numerous hippo gather together for safety in protecting their young.
There is a lot of yawning, grunting, belching, farting, pooping, bickering and splashing going on. But mostly just sleeping.
A crocodile does some sunbathing while he is waiting for the opportunity to grab a snack of baby hippo.
That is why the hippo snuggle close together around their youngststers.
The spot has been created into a rudimentary but popular viewing area over the years, with picnic tables and a toilet block.
While we have visited here a few times in the past, this is the first time we have stopped here for a picnic.
Blue Eared Glossy Starling
As is usual in an area where humans gather for food, a few opportunist birds hang around; this time the large and colourful Blue Eared Glossy Starling.
Thank you to Calabash for yet another amazing morning of safari.