Photos and Text By Guest Blogger Dr. Diane King
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This is our first full day of Safari. Last night was unbelievable as we saw a small group of lions who were active in the night and walking all around the Rover. It is hard to believe you are really there sitting in an open Rover, in the midst of the nocturnal predators active time, yet you are very safe. The animals have no reason to fear the Rover and the people inside of it as they have never been harmed by it. However, if you step out of the vehicle…
We got the wake up call about 5:30 and by 6am we had had the usual first breakfast fare around here. It offers only 4 items. Coffee, hot tea, cookies and rusk. Rusk turned out to be a favorite of mine, and mine only. It has almost all the important features of a good breakfast food-crunchy, quick to eat, sweet nutty flavor, and lost of carbohydrates. I checked the recipe and it has lots of butter, nuts and some sugar and is somewhat like a very dry biscotti. First breakfast is the same every safari day of the year.
We had an eventful day of animal sightings seeing our first wildebeest, giraffes necking, red hartebeest and dung beetles. They are a protected species in SA. The wildebeest is a very bulky dark somewhat unattractive animal that looks like a bad marriage between the front of a beast and the back end of a horse. However, they seem to grow on you. Their Mothers probably love them too. The giraffes showed us a beautiful display of young males learning to “neck”. They bang their necks together in play fighting. When older this is more intense and you can hear the sound quite far away, and it can cause injury. It looked like a ballet dance in slow motion. The Red Hartebeest is best recognized by the shape of a heart made by its antlers, and the dark reddish color of its hide. We would see many more later in the trip.
Dung beetles are over in inch in length with a shiny black beetle segmented body. They do not seem to harm us when we hold them, but just the thought makes you want to put them down. Not to mention they are called Dung beetles for a reason.Their mission is to roll fresh dung, usually of elephants, into softball sized balls, then roll them to the field and bury them. The beetles feed on the dung and lay an egg in the middle. After it is buried, the baby beetle uses the dung ball as a food source, till it climbs out of the ground.
The next set of photos shows David in his Safari outfit, mostly for sun protection, and the obvious fashion statement. See if you can discern the hidden lioness in photo 2. A beautiful SA sunset, David and Phil enjoying afternoon snack, the only time we are allowed out of the Rover, and a manly male lion.
Diane and David
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