Wildlife

Embarking on our tour with master tour guide Greg Garson, we headed north up the coast to Saint Lucia, and went to the estuary (a world heritage site) where hippos and crocodiles are in abundance.

Switching transportation to boat
Switching transportation to boat
Hippo
Hippo
Hippos
Hippos
Hippos
Hippos
Nile crocodile (somewhat smaller than the Australian variety, but still formidable)
Nile crocodile (somewhat smaller than the Australian variety, but still formidable)
Yellow Weaver bird
Yellow Weaver bird
I forget what kind of goose
I forget what kind of goose
Hippos!
Hippos!
Hippos (they are all standing in the water; they don't swim)
Hippos (they are all standing in the water; they don’t swim)
Hippo
In all of Africa some 2500+ people are killed by hippos annually; in most cases they walk between the hippo and the water — like walking between Mom and baby this can be deadly.

Then on northward to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. In an approximation of the Zulu pronunciation, you can get away with shu.SHLU.wee. Tough for foreigners to put the spelling and the sound together! This is the oldest game reserve in South Africa, dating back to the late 1800’s. It is about 370 square miles. It has been instrumental in restoring the greatly endangered (once fewer than 100 animals) white rhino.

In SA you cannot drive off the road to approach animals. In Zimbabwe and Kenya, when an animal is spotted it is often surrounded by Land Rovers. Here you may have to watch from a distance, and thus see scenes like this…

Elephant in the distance
Elephant in the distance
Giraffes in the distance
Giraffes in the distance

But we were pretty lucky in our “hunting” over two days, so here are some of the trophies…

Cape buffalo
Cape buffalo
Cape buffalo
The Cape buffalo is considered one of the most dangerous animals, because it is unpredictable; especially lone males can be very aggressive.
Buffalo herd
Buffalo herd
Buff herd
Buff herd
On the roof of the inn where we stayed
On the roof of the inn where we stayed
Nyala (female)
Nyala (female)
Nyala (male)
Nyala (male)

image

We visited a place where four species of endangered cats are bred and reintroduced to the wild. In particular the cheetah, which is between a rock and a hard place. They need the game reserves to have protected habitat, but unlike many cats (such as the leopard), they don’t climb trees and thus they cannot escape the reserve. As a result they become inbred with the limited gene pool within the borders. So controlled breeding is important for the survival of this amazing creature.

African wild cat. If it looks a lot like a house cat, they have common ancestors and lots of cross breeding. Here the keep the breed pure, notably with longer legs than our house cats.
African wild cat. If it looks a lot like a house cat, they have common ancestors and lots of cross breeding. Here the keep the breed pure, notably with longer legs than our house cats.
Caracal. The hairs atop the ears sense the wind direction, and when snoozing they detect the vibration of an approaching threat. They can also leap 3-4 meters vertically from a standstill!
Caracal. The hairs atop the ears sense the wind direction, and when snoozing they detect the vibration of an approaching threat. They can also leap 3-4 meters vertically from a standstill!
Caracal
Caracal
Cheetah
Cheetah
Cheetah and friends
Cheetah and friends
Cheetah cubs
Cheetah cubs
Cheetah cub
Cheetah cub
Cheetah cub
Cheetah cub
Serval
Serval

Back in the wild, we saw just one cat…a lion…

Lion
Lion
Okay, this isn't a wild animal. It is a Nguni cow, the hide of which has become in high demand recently.
Okay, this isn’t a wild animal. It is a Nguni cow, the hide of which has become in high demand recently.

image

Zebra
Zebra
Zebra
Zebra
This zebra appears to have been attacked by a lion last night, and remarkably has survived...
This zebra appears to have been attacked by a lion last night, and remarkably has survived…
Impala
Impala
Impala
Impala

image

Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Rhino
Elephants
Elephants
Young bull elephant
Young bull elephant
Elephant
Elephant
Warthog
Warthog

All the big animals are fantastic, but for me the most amazing is this one…out of proportion…yet elegant and graceful…curious about us…and hard for me to believe it exists for real on the same planet I do!

Giraffe
Giraffe
Giraffes
Giraffes
Giraffe
Giraffe
Giraffes
Giraffes
Giraffe
Giraffe

6 thoughts on “Wildlife”

  1. Loved your photos Zeke! I went to Africa in 1986 and it was spectacular to see the animals ‘for real’. Giraffes are amazing and have the biggest hearts of any animal (it’s a long way to pump all that blood)! What a great adventure that you’ll never forget! 🙂

    Like

  2. Thank you for all of the wonderful pictures. I have shared them with all of our students here at Lewiston High School. What an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing with us!

    Like

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