The day started overcast but even before we reached the bridge over the Sand River, we were treated to a lot of animals along the way. The Impala were doing their morning gymnastics, stretching their legs and going through their morning rituals, helped by the Red-billed Oxpeckers, who did a bit of fur-maintenance for them.
The weather started to clear up quickly and the Pied Kingfishers at the bridge clearly had ‘spring’ in their heads as the male did his best to impress the female by a beautiful air-acrobatics performance. She showed her appreciation for his skills by shrieking loudly everytime he hovered in front of her. Well, at least that’s my explanation of the scene 🙂
A little further we were greeted by a small herd of elephants; females and youngsters. The young males in the herd were playing around, mock fighting and splashing around in the river. A little further a big lone Bull was checking us out, not really amused by our presence. Matt remained very cautious and kept a safe distance, but the Bu
ll kept on coming at us. Everytime we moved a little further away to give him as much space as he clearly demanded. At one point he was resting his trunk on his tusks while staring hard at us; a sign that he’s thinking about what to do. We were in a clearing
with no real trees around and it was kind of funny to see that his solution to get rid of our annoying presence was to ‘hide’ behind one of the dead trees in that clearing. “I don’t see you, so you don’t see me!” 🙂
We decided to give him a break and moved on.
Much to our surprise we stumbled upon a new Female Leopard, at least new to me. Matt called her Iris as the has a very distinctive dark spot in the iris of her right eye. (hope you can see that in the picture to the left). She looked beautiful and seemed totally at ease. She went down alongside the road with the sun beautifully behind here. A most wonderful sight!!
The afternoon drive started with the Pied Kingfishers again; this time hovering right next to the car. The rains sure made their lives easier with all the water around. But that you don’t necessarily need water to take a bath proved the Oxpeckers on the road, taking a lovely sandbath.
As the day went on it seemed that it would become a real ladies day as we came across another female leopard beauty: the Tamboti Female; a beautiful young lady who, when I recall right, is the daughter of the Bicycle Crossing Male.
Of course the pictures in this blog are only a fraction of all the beautiful things you see when you are on a game drive. If I would post every picture I made, of every animal I saw this blog would become absolutely endless! With all the big cats around you almost forget that there are so many, maybe less imaginative animals making an appearance. For instance the beautiful elegant Klipspringers that really do their name justice. They jump over the rocks as if they were on solid ground, totally in balance on those tiny little hooves.
The day ended with the sighting of yet another female leopard; The Flockfield female. I’ve seen her before on a previous trip but only a short glimpse. It was a shame that it was already so dark now, as I would have loved to add her portrait to the, quite extensive already, portrait gallery I keep of the Mala Mala leopards.
It sure was ladies day today!!