Monday, February 28, 2011

Naughty Wild Animals

26 February, Lower Sabie Camp Kruger NP

A troupe of baboons wandered along the perimeter fence this morning. It was almost as though the parents were taking the kids out to the 'people zoo'. Cute. But we are just about over it with the lower primates! Yesterday while we were down at the fence communing with a large solitary bull elephant (as you do), the camp's resident 'gang' of vervet (read varmint) monkeys raided our outdoor kitchen. Distracted by the pachyderm, we had neglected to close the grilled door over the fridge compartment. In seconds, the little grey monsters had opened the fridge, stolen a bread roll cracked an egg and gulped down half a carton of milk! Luckily for them they didn't get to the beer. That might have been terminal!

Lion and leopard still eluded us today. Well, we did see a lion, but from a great distance and hidden in long grass under a shady tree. If push comes to shove, we'll count it as a sighting, but for now we are still working on a much better sighting.

From the deck of our safari tent this afternoon, we have a fantastic view over the river to a sandy spit where we are expecting to see some late afternoon visitors. Hippos are growling up and down stream from us and the air is full of the sounds of hundreds of birds.

Around midday, the temperature 'on safari' is rather warm, probably near 30C, but it is a dry heat and quite comfortable compared to the tropical swelter that we left back home a week ago yesterday. By 4 pm the temperature drops rapidly to the low 20s C and the breeze cuts in. Extremely pleasant drinking weather!

We are becoming a little blasé about much of the wildlife. Herds of zebra and impala hardly warrant a pause now. We did have a spectacular sighting of water buffalo this morning, a large herd held us up for about 10 minutes as they meandered off across the road and onto the grassy plain beyond.

Safari driving has some interesting rules that we just don't get. Seems that the bigger your vehicle and the more expensive it is, the more entitled you are to plonk yourself in the middle of the track once you spot something. Pulling over to let those who have seen impala before and don't wish to study the back end of a BMW 4x4 for 15 minutes is not in the rule book apparently. Well we are just simple travellers and we'll learn the rules eventually!

Great excitement. Our hippos have just clambered out of the water on the opposite bank and are wandering off into the scrub!!!! Sadly, there is not enough light for our cameras to capture their departure, but in a way we are glad to see them go. The thought of that infernal growling all night was not filling us with glee.

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