Monday, July 9, 2018

Giraffes and Hippos

I did not see enough giraffes and hippos.  Here are the ones from Kruger because we did see more giraffes and heard more hippos in Botswana and Namibia.
Most giraffes are very curious and want to look at us just as much as we want to look at them.











The giraffes are my favorite animals today.

We stopped at a designated picnic ground for lunch with the caveat that there were potentially dangerous animals in the area.  We humans generally make way too much noise for any animal to stick around unless it is a bird or ground squirrel looking for a quick crumb.
I did scan with my binoculars to view anything that might be around.  Fortunately, those rock-looking objects on the far right were hippos submerged in the cool water.











Later we caught a full view of a mama hippo and her baby at our Oliphants bungalow overlook.  They were definitely too far away for a really good look.


This is still my favorite hippo sighting from our first day.

Friday, July 6, 2018

And What is That?

Sometimes you see one kind of animal only once, maybe twice.  Here are some animals we only saw a few times.  These are male and female waterbucks. That distinctive white arc on their rear helps you to identify them when you see them a second time.




This was our first ostrich sighting.  Usually they were very far away and hard to photograph.


A very large Blue Wildebeest was seeking shade under this magnificent marula? tree.


Cape or African Buffalo are very intimidating and can be very dangerous.


Later we saw a large herd of Cape Buffalo along a river.  Those brown rock-looking things out in the river are hippos!




One place that was always marked as a safe place to alight from your vehicle was a space marked exactly in the middle of a bridge.  I expect the authorities would not expect people to get into too much trouble there.  This is the only crocodile we saw, and it was only about two feet long.


Striped skink were really rare to see, too.


We stopped at Red Rocks, a place where we could get out of the truck and stretch while we looked for animals.




Maybe we should have brought an offering for Khubyane, master of the universe, because we only saw a bird, but what a bird!  If you click on this photo to make it larger, you might find him almost right in the middle.


He is a Saddle-billed Stork.


I think it was far too hot for animals to be out in the heat of the afternoon even when there was plenty of water.


Only funny looking humans would be out to read about being at the Tropic of Capricorn.



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I Love Elephants!

Turning away, hiding their eyes, or walking away are all strategies the elephants use to avoid contact with you.  Capturing a full face photo is by chance, by luck.  No matter, I could just watch the elephants hour upon hour.






Nearly always the elephants are in herds of females.  Older males are off by themselves.






It appears that it is generally playtime anytime an elephant is close to water.








Ahh!


After his mud bath, it's time for some dirt.




This was probably the largest elephant we saw.  We were driving along the same empty road he was walking on.   Slowing to allow him to go at his own rate and staying a generous distance away, we followed him.  I don't think he liked us following him.  He turned around and purposefully started towards us.  Steve immediately stopped and began backing up.  As in the Galapagos, animals always have the right of way, and elephants must have the greatest right of way.  Suddenly he veered off to his right.  There are scary videos on the internet showing what upset elephants will do when you do not show great respect.  Granted, we were not a tiny white car, but...things could have turned out differently.






Often we saw large groups of elephants off in the distance.


Once we discovered a large group of female elephants spread out along a dry river bed below our parking area.  Some were digging into the sand to reach water lower down.




After a while, a matron and her friend noticed us parked up on the bank.  They kept maneuvering themselves around so as to seem to shelter the two younger elephants from our view, especially the little one, as they dug for water.












But the little one kept moving around, laying down, getting up, flopping down again, and rolling in the damp sand.  It must have felt delightfully cool.












The mothers appeared to enlist the older sibling to try to help shield the little one while they dug for water- to no avail.






















They finally had their fill of water and moved away into the bush.


This guy knew there was water in the tank.






Another mother elephant tried to keep her offspring close and away from our car.  Not realizing how close we were to her and her baby, she trumpeted once to let us and her baby know that she did not like us all being so close.  We moved away very quickly to calm her.




Elephants are my favorite animals today.