The clouds have cleared a little, and we got our day off to a good start with some elephants, and a nice view of Kilimanjaro in the background.
After leaving the ellies, we continued driving, and I had a lot of fun trying to photograph running wildebeest. It’s quite a challenge when the jeep is moving fast as you bounce around an awful lot. I’m amazed that I haven’t yet gone flying when the jeep made a sudden swerve or stop.
We spent a bit of time driving around by the swamps, which are filled with bird life. As well as the egrets and grey heron, we spotted a goliath heron, a couple squacco herons and a pair of pied kingfishers.
There’s a small hill next to the swamps with an observation tower at the top. We parked the van and took a walk up there. There was a good view down to a small group of hippos as well as wildebeest coming in to drink. Unfortunately they were too far away to get really decent photos.
On our way back to camp, we spotted a pair of silver backed jackals. They’re very shy and they didn’t hang around long enough for us to turn off the engine – very hard getting sharp pictures when the van is vibrating around you.
After lunch, our first few find were still inside the camp – a hoepoe, and some of the resident baboons. The baboons are really a pest around here, and there are plenty of them on the grounds. Given half a chance, they, and the vervet monkeys, would be inside your room in no time. These baboons were on the drive away, and much as I’m not a great fan, I had to admit that the baby was rather cute, as it took a ride on its mother’s back.
We spent most of the afternoon hanging out with a couple herds of elephants. Most of the elephants here are accompanied by large numbers of cattle egrets, which feed on the insects that are disturbed when the elephants tear out the grass.
Towards the end of the day, we waited for the elephants to come up from the water and make their way back to their night’s resting spot. They crossed the road right where we were waiting, and flowed around us. It was amazing to see elephants in every direction, and particularly to enjoy the young ones, who were running around in all directions and trumpeting triumphantly as they crossed the road.
As the sun started to set we saw a group of vehicles together in the distance. We raced over to join the party and a found a group of 3 young lions walking away from us. They found themselves a quiet spot in the palm trees, and stopped for a lie down. We watched and waited whilst the sun disappeared, but eventually had to give up and head back to the lodge.