A movement in the shadows of the huge Jackalberry caught the guides’ eye…..he looked through his binoculars…..’Painted dogs’, he smiled. We had been staring at the leopard who didn’t wish to be seen….and now the ‘dogs’ were a scant two hundred yards away. No question…we set off following our ‘sister’ vehicle.
He remained motionless until he realized we had seen him
They had killed an impala about twenty minutes ago…in fact whilst we had been trying to find the leopard! They looked in great condition, and were filled with meat. To see Painted dogs was a bonus…to see them on a kill was the ‘cherry’!
The dogs had killed the impala whilst we had been searching for the leopard
That afternoon we went on the river, on the Linyanti Queen…a cliche…but a great lazy boat experience. Birds, hippo, elephant and views across the Linyanti ‘Swamps were our reward. The sky was particularly good that evening, and we watched the night herons heading off as silhouettes across the marsh.
An afternoon boat trip was a welcome change from the vehicle
We sipped our drinks, saturated with colors, comfort and goodwill.
We set off for the Greater Kruger with a buzz of anticipation. The aircraft dipped and swayed a little over the escarpment, the edges of the Drakensberg sawed the air beneath us, clothed in green. The bush veld revealed itself as a sward of dappled olive, touched with new-leaf greens and oranges, laced with sandy tracks and periodic triangles of brown, rainwater-filled dams. At last, the streak of the runway and we corrected our course, paused and then landed bumpily. The rangers were there to meet us, and terra firma was a relief to many!
The lodge exceeded the ladies expectations, and after a late lunch and a nap, away we went on the first game drive. The prize that afternoon…a wonderful past-prime male leopard, snoozing fitfully in the new grass. What a TREAT!
So trusting…with one ear open
OK, lets go.
After that, sundowners by lamplight. Not bad for a first day out.
First stop, Serengeti!
The Caravan banked and turned at last, curving down towards the tiny strip, a smudge on the sketchy green of the plains, just inside the sinuous curves of the Grumeti river silver and smooth, that winds its’ way across this part of the Serengeti. The two Singaporean families who were my guests on this trip chattered excitedly in Hokin and English as I pointed out animals, and suddenly the dark ‘dots’ took form. ‘Gavin, Gavin….THESE are wildebeest??………….’ A dark mass of animals walked along the edge of the river, some of the herd rested amongst the scattered flat topped acacias, like carelessly scattered toys. The dark ‘cloud’ of moving creatures represented for me one of the earth’s most unique and wonderful spectacles.
They had traveled across half the world to see this…the annual migration in the Serengeti.
A tiny percentage of the population feeding quietly in northern Serengeti
The bulk of the herd had moved on ten days previously, but there were still A LOT of White-bearded gnu, as they are correctly named. Thousands upon thousands of these bovids still remained…the vanguard of the million or so that perennially make this trek across the plains. The pilot grinned to himself. He had heard this excitement many times as flew travellers in to the bush strips at various points of entry in the Serengeti, and still he smiled…excitement of this nature is infectious! Read more…