Another enjoyable 24 hours camping at Klaserie Game Reserve a couple of weeks ago. It was a little marred by the fact that the two cubs that I wrote about in my first ‘camping’ post, were killed the day before 😦 The two lionesses were feeding on a Zebra kill, and another pride came by – the cubs were killed by the male lions, as is so often the case in the wild. We rounded a corner on our drive, and the lionesses were lying close to the track – it was very clear to see that one of them had bite or scratch marks on her face – no doubt as a result of the fight 😦 We did however see a huge warthog and I managed to grab this photo before it ran away – as they always do. Usually we just see them in the distance, with their tails erect as they run – this is their ‘follow me’ sign, as when they are running through long grass their babies will be able to see their tails sticking up!Not long after we passed some very ‘chilled out’ Kudu – again, they usually dash away, but this one was happy to pose for minute. Kudu have enormous ears which help it to detect any threats.Very close to our campsite is a dam, and within a minute of leaving camp we saw this bull elephant heading towards it. He had a good long drink, and I was amused to see how he kept shifting his weight off one leg at a time. When you are that heavy and on your feet all day long it must feel good. (A dam is another word for ‘water hole’, and it’s so named because it’s man-made)
When we go to Klaserie, our guides are from an organisation called ‘Africa on Foot’ but some areas are privately owned so they are not allowed to drive on that land. However, this time our guide lives on neighbouring land, and he was able to take us to a dam that we haven’t been able to visit before. As we drove towards the water, we had a great view of these Waterbuck. As with most antelope, the males have horns, and the females do not, but all Waterbuck have the characteristic white ‘ring’ on their backside, as if they’ve sat on a white toilet seat.
We spent a good 30 minutes watching the hippos and listening to their grunts.And the Egyptian Geese stayed well clear of the enormous crocodiles in the water.Not many people like Vultures, but they are pretty magnificent and play a very important role in the eco system as they feed on the carcasses of dead animals, thereby disposing of them. I actually like the fact that when hunched like this they look so grumpy! We were camping on the night of a full moon, and had a breezy and overcast evening, so I managed to take some atmospheric images. I love lying in my tent with the canvas sides rolled up so that I can see the sky, but unfortunately at 3.00 a.m. it started raining. I had to dash outside and unroll the canvas, which resulted in me crawling back into the tent dripping wet. I was glad that my mattress and duvet were still nice and warm.
On any game reserve there are hundreds of Impala. They are such beautiful antelope, but extremely skittish. As you drive past they will sometimes stand warily and watch, but the moment you stop they run away. Impala live in distict herds – the bachelor herd, and the breeding herd. The females form herds of 10 to 50 or more and wander in and out of male territories. If they start to leave the territory, the male tries to herd them back to the center, or he feigns danger just beyond his boundary by taking a stance normally used as a warning sign. He mates with all the females in estrus and defends his territory from challenging males. He loses a lot of weight from his frantic activity of mating, and then he returns to the bachelor group to recuperate. Bachelor males are allowed to remain in male territories if they ignore the females.
The territorial male’s challenger will have worked his way up through the hierarchy of the bachelor group until he becomes the dominant male. He then leaves the group and challenges a territorial male through horn duels.