Thursday, April 6, 2017

Safari: More Camp Savute

The game lodges are privately run on land leased from the government. While the accommodations were luxurious, we chuckled at the signage at the air strip and at the lodge entrance. It does not suggest what lies ahead up the long rutted sandy drive.

As I showed in the first Camp Savute posting, we stepped into a bit of bush paradise. After being greeted by the management team and being introduced to our ranger, we met our butler and maid. From that point on we were treated to the most wonderful experience.

Just sitting on our private viewing porch was special. I captured two male impalas duking it out at the waterhole. I don't know if they were just being playful or if it was a manly challenge for superiority. Either way, it was a beautiful dance to watch.
We covered a lot of terrain in our time there. Sometimes we were wheel-deep in water from the recent rain. Other times we were in deep soft sand. Driving the safari vehicles definitely is a skill. We went up and down inclines, off the trails, through mud, under low branches, etc. One learned when and where to duck and protect your face from branches. However, it was worth the rough ride to get close to the animals.

This was a small puddle in the road!
While driving around looking for big game, we saw so many varieties of birds. I have never been a lover of birds, but I was impressed with the beautiful colors, flight and stature of these feathered friends. The largest, of course, was the ostrich. I loved the New Guinea Hen's shape and colors, but they scooted around so quickly that I could never get a good profile shot.
I love the color and shape of the New Guinea Hen

I have always liked the shapes of the savannah trees. They are umbrella-shaped because the elephants and giraffes eat them up to the highest level they can reach. This makes the underside flat and spreading. When the elephants are hungry, they will pull a tree right out of the ground and eat it. They require something like 600 pounds of food a day! The result is destruction to the ecosystem because they are altering the food and shade patterns of other animals.

A morning snack on the road!
Impalas are like the Michigan White Tail Deer:
They are everywhere and jumping all over the place.

The lone hippo!
I am looking forward to being at a table that isn't bobbing or listing to paint some of these trees. I brought my watercolors onboard, but it just isn't a practical place to paint. This will be a project back home in the summer. And I did get those beads in Cape Town so I will be making some jewelry as well.

One of the more unusual hunts we did was for the hippo that lives in this reserve. I am not sure if there are a few more or not. All we saw was his ears as it was hot and sunny and hippos have sun-sensitive skin so they stay underwater during the daylight hours.
Interesting birds.

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