Friday, July 19, 2013

“A bad days fishing is better than a good days work”

We couldn’t agree more, although we combine the two more often than most and end up with the best of both! It’s a wonderful alternative to the walks and game drives – just find a perch, (each of our guides will advise you of his own “secret fish hotspot”) cast off and while away an hour or two enjoying just being here!

The inspiration for our latest outing with the rods and tackle came in the guise of this Giant Kingfisher. We had all sat for lunch when this juvenile male (you can tell by the patchy chestnut breast band) plunged headlong into the water to retrieve an unfortunate fish.

We were alerted to his presence by the squeaks of our waitress Flora who took exception to him beating the life out of his quarry on the banister of the restaurant deck. Patently ignoring these protestations the tenacious little chap proceeded to spend 15 minutes tenderizing his meal. We’d all but given up watching when, the preparation being complete; he swallowed his lunch in one!
                                     Nature is marvelous!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good Gnu’s

Not the prettiest of our neighbours, the noble wildebeest rarely makes it into the limelight of the Sand Rivers Blog. This territorial bull from the Miombo woodland area doesn’t have the luxury of blending into the crowd like the millions of his brethren that rumble past Lamai every year.
He has to tough it out on his own until one of the breeding herds consisting of a few females and young deems his area suitable for a temporary stay – he’ll try his best to keep them in but inevitably the grass will prove greener at some stage and he’s have to watch them leave.
To reach these dizzy heights of success he needs heightened senses and presumably a nervous, high strung disposition. We’ve seen lions hunting them and their acceleration is incredible – the big cats have to get the jump on a bull wildebeest to catch him. In lovely evening light we recently watched this old pro flexing his muscles.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stiegler’s Gorge…’ere be dragons!!

It’s been said before but we’ll say it again; a morning expedition up the Rufiji River to Stiegler’s Gorge is a magnificent activity. Leaving at dawn - it feels like we’re heading out in search of the “blank spaces on the map” that all those explorer diaries have alluded to.

Rounding a bend, where we plan to switch off the motor and begin our silent drift downstream towards the lodge, we disturb this pile of crocodiles!

Seeing so many together certainly raises a few eye-brows in the boat – it’s a firm reminder that these creatures are far more social and complex than their reputation would have us believe.

As we continue downstream we spot this impressive adult, he was concealed when we passed him on the way up, quietly observing us from his basking place as we made our way upstream him by. Now in full view he took his time to slip silently into the water.

The crocodile is often described as an unchanged ancient creature harking back to the age of dinosaurs. This, however, doesn’t quite do the apex predator justice. It took a vast number of adaptations over 250 million years to reach this modern day river monster, to hear the taxonomist’s state that they are the closest living relatives to birds should surely reaffirm this!

None the less - the cool light of the gorge certainly adds to the prehistoric feel of these photographs.