Saturday, 13 January 2018

Gate 1, South Africa - Day 5, first game drive (Part 1)

The best time to see animals is early in the morning so the days we were going on safari we were getting up very early, given a coffee and rusk in the hotel lobby and provided with a box of snacks by the hotel to replace the breakfast. Trying to get to the gate of the park by 6am!
Great fun, trying to pronounce that.
There were warthogs in the parking lot
before we even got into the park.
We were in vehicles that held 9 (3 rows of 3, the highest at the back and the lowest just a bit higher than the driver/guide) with a roof and open sides. It was chilly in the morning but I was so excited I didn't really notice the cool breeze from driving along in an open vehicle.
I am going to have a great deal of difficulty choosing the pictures to post on the blog. As you can imagine, I took hundreds of photos. I am going to post them in the order that we saw them as I treat this blog as my diary.
The 6 Canadians sat in the back 2 rows, joined by 2 Americans (Jessica and her mother, Cathy) in the front and that's Renier in the front (he moved around to different vehicles at each break) You can see how bundled up Jessica is.
Impala. You are going to get sick of my Impala pictures as they are the most prevalent animal and I never tired of watching them and taking pictures of them.
The rest of them were not that interested in birds but every now and then I would manage a shot or Renier or the guide would point one out. Pin Tailed Whydah. They fly as if that long tail totally unbalances them.
I think this is a Woolly Necked Stork
A tree full of baboons
I could watch and take pictures of these guys all day too.
They were eating the fruit in the tree.
This little one couldn't figure out how to get up there
Even with the help of another young one, he kept sliding back down the main trunk of the tree.
Part of the troop was down in the grass, making pictures of them harder to get.
Obviously the guide was very good at spotting animals but he also had to concentrate on driving. We were all straining our eyes and the various guides were in radio contact to report sightings.
Off in the distance, giraffes.
Though the zoom on the camera helped bring them closer.

A yellow billed kite. There were lots of these, often at the top of dead trees.

More giraffes on the opposite hill, and a zebra.
Zoomed in. At one point he rolled in the dirt like a horse.
I can't remember what Renier called this one but it was named after its call.
Warthog on the run. When they get going they run with their tails straight up in the air.
The 5 most dangerous animals in South Africa are called the Big Five; lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and cape buffalo. There's also the Small Five and the Ugly Five. The warthog is of course one of the latter.
Chris with the binos, on the look out.
I think he is a Nile Monitor Lizard. He was about 5 foot long and sunning himself on a rock beside a dry river bed.
We drove into a fenced area with huts and washroom facilities at this point. Here we were served breakfast. We were excited about what we had seen and didn't know, until after, that it had actually been rather slow and that it would get better.
Walking back to the vehicle I was able to get quite close to a herd of Kudu. These 2 are quite young.
A young male giving me the eye.
When they run their fluffy tails lift up and are white underneath.
Hiding in the bushes. Huge ears like radar.
This is just half way through the drive but I am going to post it and continue the rest in a second post. So many animal pictures!!

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