Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Joys of Living in Zululand.......Part 2

So after the pineapples and pottery and Pongola, I had a rerun of the early morning drill of Saturday, except for the fact that BOTH my camera batteries were fully charged.

I made a beeline for the park at 5.45 and drove straight through to the very far southern end of the iMfolozi section.

Along the way I saw a reasonable variety of wildlife. Giraffe and zebra are pretty much a certainty on the Hluhluwe side of the park. They are often found together.

Giraffe have managed to combine haughtiness with curiosity.

 I do not know why people go on early morning drives as I seem to see very little on these drives. It was a good while later that I got a good sighting again.
Vervet monkeys are to be found in reserves as well as urban areas. A pest in towns and cities but cute in the park

Glossy starlings are quite spectacular when seen in sunlight. They are often to be found with larger game where they catch the insects that get disturbed by grazing.

I was slowly but surely making my way to where the cheetah with the three cubs have been seen. Driving and looking for game can be a bit of a job when you are on your own, so adding taking photographs into the mix makes for some strange contortions sometimes. It also means that sometimes you miss something that was worth photographing or you end up in a deep rut or hit a stone because you were not watching the road.

And this is exactly what happened when I HIT THE JACKPOT!

No, not the cheetah and cubs, but eleven lions on the sandbank in the White Umfolozi river.

By the time I parked the car without ramming the one other car that was there, got my camera ready and started taking photographs, the pride had scattered and only five were visible.

The standing lioness was either very pregnant or had just eaten a huge meal or both. She tried to lie down and relax but could not settle down.

I realised that there was no way that the cheetah with the cubs would risk staying in the same area. She has most certainly moved off somewhere where her cubs would be safe from lions. In the wild predators do not accept competition from anyone and would try to kill other predators on sight.
I sat and watched them lazing around for a good half hour. By this time another car had arrived and I left to give them a good vantage point.
I must admit that I find it rather difficult to get enthusiastic about buffalo. To me they are too much like cattle on the farm to get excited by them. They even sound like cattle.

Rutting season has arrived and all the male impalas have gathered their harems together. They are very protective of them and will chase any males that dare to come close.

The ever present warthogs.

By this time it was quite late in the day and I had seen no elephant. All the signs and tracks were there, but no ellies. Mountains of poop and lots of devastation but no elephants. Elephants can be very destructive but this is part of grazing management. Savannah will turn into bush if the elephants did not help control the trees.
Wildebeest and impalas often hang around together for protection.
Such a beautiful face.


The last part of my day was going along the Lower Mangangeni road. And there in the middle of the road was this old gentleman.
There are a number of game reserves in Zululand that houses an abundance of different ecosystems and biomes. We are truly privileged to have access to all this so close at hand.

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