Thursday, 19 January 2012

Night time Predators

Our first day at Berg and Dal was busy and H-O-T with temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius. As a result we spent most of the afternoon in the pool. We decided to do an afternoon drive.

At 16h30 with the temperature cooling a little bit we gathered at the reception area and boarded our 'safari-vehicle'. Raymond was our guide for the evening and he guided us strait to our very first sighting of one of the 'ugly 5'. Marabu storks in my opinion also earn a spot amongst the 'stinky 5' and the 'disgusting 5'. They defecate on their own legs in an attempt at thermo-regulation.
We also got to see the only blue wildebeest in the area. According to Raymond there used to be 3 wildebeest left in the berg and dal area but both of those have been killed by lions. Apparently it is only a matter of time until this one meets the same fate...

After that the sightings came thick and fast with warthog, elephants and yet more rhino's. We even saw a boomslag pick up some road kill. (unfortunately we did not manage a picture.)

The age old saying goes, 'red sky at night is a Shepard's delignt'. We spent some time trying to take some artsy pictures of the beautiful evening sky.

Besides the spectacular sunset the animal sightings kept on coming...
and some very relaxed looking impalas.

The highlight of our trip was the 2 predator sightings. The first being 8 lions. These guys seemed very interested in something just outside of our line of sight. All of them were looking in the same direction. We tried and tried again to photograph just one looking in our direction.
After about half an hour of taking pictures of the back of their heads, one finally looked in our direction... Lions have black tips to their tails and black behind their ears. These are 'follow me' signs. The black tail is at exactly the right height for a cub to follow a female through tall grass. Lions are also the only cats with tassells of hair at the tips of their tails.

On our way back to camp we came across one more predator. Hyenas. :) They were very relaxed and one of them had a suckling cub with it. It looked really big and I am sure is almost weened.
The spotted hyena is arguably the most successful large carnivore in Africa because it is both a proficient hunter and scavenger. Hyenas are extremely mobile and will travel up to 70km in a night to access food if need be. Unlike other carnivores, hyena cubs are born with their eyes open, canines fully erupted and aggressive tendencies intact.

After a wonderful drive we made it back to camp and fell asleep with the sounds and smell of the African bush.

No comments:

Post a Comment