Saturday, November 03, 2012


white rhino, notice the bird on top
Well, we had a fabulous trip yesterday, we went and visited a local game farm, about 1 and 1/2 from here. A local cruiser named Anne and her daughter Lauriken drove us out in their personal vehicle. What a treat, Anne grew up traipsing around Africa and has a real love and a great deal of knowledge about the animals and Lauriken was a walking encyclopedia of facts about the variety of wildlife, birds and the plants. We learned so much about what we were seeing and we saw way more than we would have if we had gone by ourselves. We just love our South African friends!!!
There are 3 giraffes and a water buffalo

Barry and I were just thrilled with the giraffes, they are such improbably animals, we would gaze at them trying to figure out how they could walk, apparently they are distant relatives of the zebra, watching them eat reminded me of a camel!

We saw some elephants, you have to be very careful of them, they have been known to put a tusk through a rental car, only in Africa, you say!  Our guy just flapped his ears at us and waved his trunk about, we thought he was going to go and push over a tree but no luck.  We saw lots of white rhinos, and Barry took a beautiful picture of one, the bird on him is called an oxpecker. They are massive animals and eat  up to 40 kg of grass a day, Brian from Tagish who came with us, suggested perhaps he could get one to trim his lawn once they get back to Canada but figured the neighbours might object. They are endangered due to poaching for their horns and at the moment they are being killed by poachers that arrive in helicopters, after paying off the park rangers, and cut off their horns and leave.  This is being done in game parks where they are protected, it is a sad state of affairs.
There are 3 baboons in this picture, 2 on the ground and  1 in the mirror.

A troop of baboons scampered across the road in front of us, they were moving pretty fast so we didn't  get a great picture.  
We got excited in the late morning when we saw vultures circling, perhaps there was a lion kill and we might get to see a BIG cat.  It is rare to see a lion or a leopard in this park. Our trusty guide, Anne, saw where the vultures went to land and headed that way.  There was no lion but there were 38 vultures on a sand spit, facing into the wind just sunning themselves and occasionally airing out their wings, watching them coming in for a landing, correcting as their long legs extended for landing was a real treat.  On a branch we spotted a tawny eagle making a meal of a mouse, he swallowed the tail whole and the proceeded to rip out the guts and consume them.  So we got to see our animal kill after all.  Downstream and around a corner from the vultures the croc was sunbathing, just waiting for some poor unwary creatures to come down for a sip. 
If you look closely you can see the mouses tail between the eagle's tail feathers. 
There were zebras as well as impalas, wildebeest, kudus and nyala, all four legged deer like creatures. The impalas apparently are very nervous creatures, they have been known to die of fright from hearing a gun shot.

Another sighting was the water buffalo, one of the meanest creatures in Africa, according to Anne. 

 There was one calmly chewing it's cud while lying in the sand and three of them went charging across the road right in front of us, they were dripping wet and were spooked, Anne figured that maybe a croc had tried to drag one down. 
I could go on and on, the experiences were so varied, the experience of a lifetime, we are in Africa, pinch me. 
It was very hilly in this park with a rive running through it. 

An Egyptian goose, notice the Egyptian type eyes

Warthogs, how could I forget those.
Tomorrow we head off to Victoria Falls for a week with Brian and Dorothy from Tagish, stay tuned.

This is a video of a dung beetle pushing a ball of elephant dung.  They burrow into the dung and make a perfect ball, then they roll it somewhere a bury it and later lay their eggs in it.  The guy doing the rolling is the male, as it should be, and the female plays the princess and goes along for the ride.  I am not sure about the wisdom of getting a ball of dung rolled on top of you instead of helping but I am just a human. I bet my grandchildren will love this. 

The quality of the video is not great, but the we just loved the giraffes so much we had to share.