06.28.2013 - 06.28.2013
Since we hadn't seen wild dogs the day before, today we had a mission. Ezra and Rajabu were hard at work from the get-go on the radio with the other guides trying to find one of the resident packs. We hardly noticed the radio intrusion, however, unlike when we were in Northern Tanzania and the radio was going off incessantly. I loved the silence of Selous. It was a slow start this morning with only some bird sightings. We first checked out some known leopard territory but just found these two Bateleur eagles.
Ezra thought this meant that a leopard might be nearby as he said bateleurs will hang around in trees near carcasses killed by leopards. We searched and searched through the whole grove of trees but couldn't locate anything. We vowed to come back later.
A couple of Southern Ground-Hornbills were having their breakfast.
This poor guy had to pull his breakfast out of a hole in a tree.
These beautiful impalas were grazing along the road.
We stopped for our breakfast amongst the wildebeest.
And then the call came. Wild dogs had been spotted but they were a bit of a drive away. We headed in that direction, passing cape buffalo along the way.
As we were driving along, I kept looking everywhere for the dogs. Then finally, I saw them, standing up on a slight hill. I could barely contain my excitement.
We pulled up and stopped and there was the Beho pack of about 17 dogs, lying in small groups under palm fronds.
One of the dogs walked by our vehicle and growled.
Ezra thought they had finished their morning hunt and were resting up after the meal.
After about 30 minutes, we left them to their snoozing.
I wanted to stay longer but other vehicles were showing up and they deserved a chance to see the dogs, too. Plus, the dogs really weren't doing anything but sleeping, kind of like my dogs at home.
But then just down the road we saw lions so I guess it was okay. We came upon five lionesses who were none too happy about a strange male walking through their territory.
The male walked right by us.
The females were lying down close by. The lioness in front was vocally expressing her displeasure at the male.
Once he was gone, the two females joined the other three underneath a tree to present a united front.
We headed back towards the road and encountered a giraffe blockade.
Back on the road, Rajabu stopped suddenly. We looked around, not seeing anything at first until we looked directly in front of the vehicle at a black mamba, one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.
Black mambas are the fastest snakes in the world, have some of the most potent venom, and are very aggressive. They can stand as tall as a human and their venom can kill a human in as little as twenty minutes. Without anti-venom, death is a certainty. In Ezra's six years of guiding in Selous, this was only the second black mamba he'd ever seen. We watched it slither across the road and into the grass on the other side.
Another giraffe blockade.
Finally, we saw the elusive male kudu out in the open and of course they turned their backs to us so I could only get butt shots. Their racks are so incredible.
Before going back to camp, we took a little detour down around the lake where a couple of lions were dozing in the bushes. They didn't stir at all so we didn't stop.
What a morning: wild dogs, lions, and a black mamba! We were still on a high when we arrived back at camp for our lunch of prawns cake, zucchini patties, salad, and orange mousse for dessert.
When the afternoon rest time was over, we were ready to go on the afternoon game drive. Unfortunately, it was not as productive as the morning. We set out looking for the leopard that had evaded us that morning. Rajabu's eagle eyes caught a glimpse of the leopard on the ground in the tall grass and we carefully followed him. We could see the grasses moving as he walked through, but not the leopard itself, except for one brief moment when I saw his tail through the grass. We decided to wait for a while to see if he came back out. He didn't so we came out of the grove of trees and began following the sounds of a herd of elephants crashing through the trees. We couldn't see them either but we could certainly hear them. We figured they might be the cause of the leopard's hiding. So the afternoon drive was a bit of a bust but we weren't too disappointed after the success of the morning. Dinner that night was fennel soup, a bean appetizer, stuffed crepes with mushrooms, ham, and a béchamel sauce, and a passion chocolate tart for dessert.