Hennie van Heerden's Wildlife Diary

November 18, 2010

The Sand River is flowing..

Filed under: 2010,November — Hennie van Heerden @ 9:13 pm

The previous night it had rained heavily. I was woken up by the sound of the fast flowing water in the Sand River. It was unbelievable how much it had swollen overnight. The causeway just outside of camp was closed as it was too dangerous to cross, even with the heavy vehicles.  But by the time we went out at 6AM the heavy thunder showers had turned into a slight drizzle.

The land animals seemed to be waiting for the sun, as only the water loving animals showed themself. We found the biggest croc I’ve ever seen in Mala Mala in the swollen Sand River, happily floating around.
A Fish Eagle spread his magnificent wings as he took off from his look-out tree over the river and the Hippos, which you normally don’t see in the heat of the day, were having a ball as well. Playing, splashing, frolicking.

I was restless after breakfast, so I asked Matt if we could go out again to try and find some birds. I figured the Kingfishers must like this weather too! Sure enough, just outside camp, we found a brown-hooded Kingfisher, patiently watching the surface of the newly formed pools next to the river.

In the afternoon, Matt seemed to have a location in mind as he immediately went south. Before we arrived at his intended sighting, the smell in the air gave away what was happening there.. It was the smell of a dead animal. And indeed, during the previous night, the lions of the Styx pride had brought down a huge ‘Daggaboy’, a big old male Buffalo. When we arrived they had all eaten all they could and I’ve seldom seen Lions so fat! They were absolutely stuffed 🙂

 It already got dark when we drove on. It seemed that, after the heavy rain, the leopards of Mala Mala were on the prowl, as we not only found a beautiful female – why she is called ‘The Large female from Sparta’ is beyond me as she is fairly small for an adult female leopard – as well as the Emsegwen Male again. By this time Matt started to believe that the big Male was following him around as this was the third day in a row that we found him while normally weeks can go by without so much of a glimpse of this beautiful animal.

  That evening, when I was getting ready for dinner and the rain poured down again, I was in the bathroom when I saw movement behind me in the reflection of the mirror. A Genet Cat (see picture right) was seeking shelter from the rain and pressed itself against the window of my bathroom 🙂
Like I said, there are always surprises..


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