• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Tales from the Waterhole – actually from the River Bank

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

 

The morning had started early with a swift but fulsome breakfast and then set of from the camp on a walking safari deep in the South Luangwa National Park. There were just the two of us with guide, ranger and deputy guide. The adrenalin was high from the very beginning as we set off straight towards three lions and a lioness. The ranger and the guide had a quick chat, agreed that lion love was in the air and all would be OK. And so it proved but it had us all awake very quickly.

We had a truly exciting morning walking along the side of the river and then inland through the ebony trees. It was hot and the stop for tea in the shade was very welcome. We had a view across a fast shrinking pool in a bend in the river that was full of hippo and crocs. Hippo tempers frayed and fights kept breaking out causing disturbances across the length and breadth of the pool. Water flew and enraged bull hippo tried to bite chunks off rivals. Meanwhile crocs were feasting on a dead hippo, again sending spray in to the air as they spun to pull hunks of the carcass.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Finally, and within half a mile of our next camp, we came across a leopard at the base of the ebony tree were she had stashed her kill. She watched us watching her and even allowed photos to be taken before climbing in to the thick branches of the tree.

A shower and a light lunch later saw the two of us in safari chairs, in the shade watching the slow trickle of the river between sand banks. Birds a plenty were to be seen including skimmers and a steady stream of antelope came down to drink. The puku knew about crocs (and they were right to be wary as we could see some crocs in the shallows) but were tempted by the sparse green grass found on some of the island in the river. To minimise the risk they made huge leaps across the water and we spent many a happy minute trying to catch the leap on camera with mixed results.

What a memorable day and there was still the evening game drive to look forward to.

To find out more, or plan your bespoke, tailor-made holiday in this exiting country, please call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Tales from the Waterhole 2 – by Peter Ellis

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

When we drew up to the waterhole it looked interesting. There were two areas of water about 100 metres apart and it is a man made waterhole. The solar pump was hidden behind a high elephant proof circular wall. As we stopped the engine we could see an excellent mix of zebra, kudu, red hartebeest, springbok, oryx and a few ostrich taking their turn to walk up to the water.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Our attention was on the rival male zebra fighting about how close bachelors are allowed near a harem. Zebras fight dirty with vicious bites and powerful kicks used to make a point. However we also noted that all the animals kept a very wary eye on the compound that housed the water pump. With good reason. A bit of manoeuvring gave us sight of four lion cubs trying to sleep in the shade.

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

After a few minutes they became restless and started circling the pump compound, calling as they went. Suddenly a female lion leapt up on to the wall and was soon joined by another. After surveying the scene, they dropped to the ground and walked over to the nearest waterhole. Two more cubs appeared and then finally a large male made his entrance from some bushes a few hundred metres away.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

The other animals gave them a wide enough berth but continued to drink from the other waterhole. The cubs played with the water and their mother’s tails while the male walked off with a youngster trying to attach his tail. A swift cuff put him in his place and sent him back to the rest of the pride.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

We sent a happy hour watching this inter play between cubs and mothers and the tension between the other thirsty animals wanting to access the water. As we drove off the largest part of the pride were heading for the shade of mopane trees some way off and a small herd of elephant were arriving to claim their time to drink.  

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Tales from a Waterhole 1 – by Peter Ellis

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

The team here at Experience Holidays ask me why Africa is my favourite destination. Apart from the fact that I was born and raised in Kenya and have a life long love of wildlife, I love the fact that every time you go out in to the bush you are not sure what you will see or encounter.

I had a 3 week holiday in Namibia last November and I thought that a few tales of what we saw while travelling would help explain why I keep going back.

We arrived at a big waterhole in central Etosha National Park where we had seen a male and female lion on a baby giraffe they had just killed. The lions had gone and the remains were being squabbled over by a couple of hyena and half a dozen jackel. On the other side of the waterhole a small herd of kudu were nervously drinking. An alarm bark from one of them made them all scatter. One of the youngsters leaped forward straight in to the mud in the centre of the waterhole and sank up to its chest. The more it thrashed to get out the deeper it sank. 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 The rest of the herd left with barely a glance backwards.

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

One of the jackals saw an opportunity for fresh, uncontested meat and leapt across the water and on to the drying mud. We held our breath as it approached the rear of the kudu (images passed through my mind of a rhino we had to put down in 1962 in Kenya when it got stuck in mud in the Nairobi National Park and the hyena could reach its rear end) but thankfully the jackal started to sink in to the mud. It backed off quickly and lay down to await developments. Then a hyena walked around the waterhole and began to wade out but the water was too deep and anyway it had a belly so full it was waddling.

All the while other game came to drink and ignored the drama. The kudu kept on struggling and slowly began to break through the mud until finally with a huge effort it was free and on the bank. A huge cheer went up from the people in the 4 vehicles watching this drama.

The mud covered kudu looked lost for a moment and then tagged on to another herd of  kudu that were just leaving the waterhole. 

Keep an eye out for my next tale coming soon. 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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