South Africa: Sabi Sabi Safari – Part 2

From Bob Conger:

The highlight of our second evening game drive was traveling with a herd of 15 elephants for about 90 minutes.  The herd included half a dozen juveniles, including one young elephant just about 4′ tall.  We enjoyed watching the elephants moving and grazing gracefully through the bush, using their trunks to pluck branches off trees and grasses to eat.  The youngish adult males were fun to watch practicing their sparring, and the juveniles were delightful in their play with each other, touching and jostling and putting their front feet up on the backs of the other youngsters.  At times, they were as close as 20 feet from us.  An amazing mix of grace and power.

As we approached a waterhole a hippo startled, and scrambled out the other side, hiding behind a tiny bush (but with amazing effectiveness).  Red-billed ox-pickers (birds) hitchhiked on the backs of huge and powerful male buffalo, picking bugs off its skins.  Impala and wildebeest grazed on the plains in close proximity to one another.

Birds of dramatic color and shape accented the trip — green and yellow little bee eaters, glossy starlings, a grey heron, iridescent kingfishers, eagles…..  All of them exotic, but some bearing a resemblance to their distance North American cousins.

A magical evening, all told…….. Then, the radio crackled with news from another ranger of a nearby leopard on the hunt. We drove to that area, and were thrilled by the sight of this incredibly powerful cat slinking through the grass like water flowing over a rock.  He was stalking a small herd of impala, and we watched for about 30 minutes as he worked his way through the bush, passing within 10 feet of our car.  Every “rosette” (spot) on his coat was breathtakingly beautiful as his powerful leg muscles rippled beneath the skin.  Ultimately, he was unsuccessful with that hunt, but we were just awestruck at the sight of him.  Wow!

Back to the lodge for a lovely dinner in a quaintly decorated room, just the right size to accommodate a table for 16 — the entire population of the lodge.  Fall into bed, exhausted.

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~ by Rob Page III on August 4, 2010.

One Response to “South Africa: Sabi Sabi Safari – Part 2”

  1. […] today will be a letdown after the past day and a […]

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