Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Road block on the way to Oliphants

One big, tall, happy family!

Godfrey and Martin, our fearless game guards

One of like 200 giraffe we saw


Kori bustard, the largest bird capable of flight in the world


Zebra in the early morning sun

This hyena had an injured leg and hung out just outside the camp fence every night.

There were giraffe everywhere!

Eles coming down to the river to drink

Hippos out of water

Another baby!

Male lion we saw on the way to pick up rifles one morning

The same big male

A lioness from the same morning

There were six lioness in the pride

On the hunt...

A pair of Bataleurs



Waterbuck male

Another giraffe keeping an eye on us...

Big male we saw driving back to camp one night

Hammerkop in the Oliphants River

Saddle-bill Stork

Pied kingfisher, still my favorite South African bird!

Godfrey and the herd of buffalo we walked into

So the past week I spent doing mopane mapping on the Oliphants River in the park. We stayed in Balule camp and worked with a pair of volunteers and an additional game guard. It was a beautiful area with high densities of game. On foot we saw giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, impala, buffalo, and a lion!!! The big story of the week was when I was walking with Godfrey and Mike in a new mapping site. We walked into a big herd of buffalo and just watched them for a bit. They were more scared of us than we were of them. Then Godfrey suddenly said "lion." I was confused until he pointed out the lin in the dense buch just ahead of us. The lion moved out of sight and we kept walking. Just a bit further we saw him again, about 15 meters away. He was a big male and he wasn't too happy at being disturbed. He lay down and watched us for a bout a minute and then got up, obviously agitated. He roared at us and then moved away. That was the scariest part of it because we were in a dense patch and couldn't see him any more. But Godfrey was great and it was a really cool encounter!
Zebra foal I saw around Sable Dam

'Get up, get up and come play!'
This little ele was trying to get his sibling up from a nap

His brother finally gave in

The baby

Elephant and hippos at the Oliphants River

Hippos at the Oliphants

Secretary Bird

White rhino in the shade

Another mud loving buffalo



Such impressive animals

Giraffe and baby

Martial eagle


Ground hornbill, pretty rare guys


Giraffe at a waterpoint

All but the first picture come from a trip I took down to Skukuza from Phalaborwa. We drove through the park and had some great sitings. The lioness was great, she came right beside the car. We spent the weekend in Skukuza and I visited with several of my friends from the program.