Friday, March 23, 2012

Stiegler's Gorge

Setting off to the Stiegler's gorge by boat early in the morning.
White fronted Bee-eaters
Yellow Baboon
A Crocodile we have to move off the sandbank so we could have breakfast!
 Mussa preparing breakfast
Everyone enjoying breakfast
Getting ready to head back to camp
African Golden Weaver building a nest

Another highlight of staying at Sand Rivers is venturing to up the Rufiji River to Stieglers Gorge, the gorge was named after a Swiss explorer who was killed by an elephant there in 1907. The mighty Rufiji River is at some points over a mile wide, it is the biggest river in East Africa, further up stream from the gorge the Ruaha River and the Kilombero River rivers meet and from that confluence is born the Rufiji river it travels east from there to the Indian Ocean, the gorge at some points will only be 50m wide, so it must be very deep to allow all that water to pass through. 

We set off early in the morning with a packed breakfast, to enjoy the cool air and wonderful light. The sandbanks are constantly changing, making it a challenge for the boat guide. 

On the way you can expect to see a wide variety of birds and mammals, the highlights would include Leopard, Lions, Pel Fishing Owls and more Hippos and Crocs than you can shake a stick at.

16kms up steam from the camp and we are well into the Gorge, the banks rise steeply, evidence of rock slides are everywhere. After finding a good spot for breakfast, the Crocodiles need to be chased back into the river. 

After enjoying a lovely breakfast, we started to head back, the driver turns off the engine so we can drift down stream and listen to all the noises. All in all the wonderful adventure on a remote and beautiful river.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fun in the rain

Thunder storms are becoming a nightly event here at Sand Rivers, the weather systems have started to come from the west. At dinner the other night we had to move the dinner table to the entrance of the Lodge, but the wind was so strong it was rather difficult to eat our soup without in ending up on our laps, these storms don't last long, the wind dies down quickly and the rain settles in. Before the water has had time to soak into the almost saturated earth, the puddles covering the black cotton soil (very fine black clay) make for fun game drives as the Land Rovers slip and slide their way though the mud. Fresh footprints of the animals litter the ground, the Hippos plough their way through the earth leaving very distinctive narrow trails, the Giraffes unable to move rapidly in slippery mud for fear of falling, have to be cautious not to be seen by a keen eyed Lion. Dung beetle use this time of year clear up all the waste left by the animals, the soft ground makes it easy to dig into, taking their dung under ground, keeping their eggs safe from predators.

The first picture is Lightening over Mtundussi hill, which can be seen from the lodge.

The second picture is Lioness near Lake Tagalala.

The third picture is two Grey Herons fighting over territory.

The last picture is a female Bush Buck.