– thanks for the nice comments and the dung beetles were great to watch. The one just hung on for the ride and did not work. As you know we had a good year with the dogs – hope you get to see then. Waterbuck stood there and i do not know who was more curious us or him. It was nice to see the hare unfortunately we say a few that were road kill – could only have been from someone driving WAY to fast - sad.Pumbaa
– thanks for the nice comments. Photo of the waterbuck a little different – i must say it also appealed to me when i went through the photos. Thanks for information on nest it is always good to learn.Mposthumus
- thanks for the nice comments.anne-marie
– thank you very much for the flower ID and fungus – yes it was near water.Foxy
– yes i am at it again – guess i should not travel as much.Day 2 – 17th December 2010 – Olifants (Continued)
The male Klipspringer will only court the female while she is in oestrus. He will follow the female closely, lifting the forelegs and making dominant postures towards her. Often they will participate in mutual grooming. Females are mounted intermittently during a unusually extended, week-long oestrus. Their seven month gestation is also unusually long for such a small antelope. Ewes calve in the solitude of a rocky crevice or deep brush, leaving their offspring in hiding and returning to nurse only about four times per day. The kids remain in hiding for two to three months, after which they accompany their parents in all activities. Klipspringers are rarely solitary, preferring male-female, monogamous pairings- although it is also common to see two ewes accompanying a single ram. Often the second ewe is the yearling offspring of the bonded pair, as females tend to remain with their parents throughout their first year. Young rams usually leave their parents to form their own territory, although no aggression from either parent has been observed. If food becomes scarce during dry seasons, they may venture away from their home territories to more advantageous feeding areas, forming small temporary herds of up to ten animals
It feeds on seeds, insects, fruit, molluscs and bulbs. When startled the Natal Francolin makes a strident long call of chattering notes. The Natal Francolin nests mainly in mid-summer. The nest is a scrape in the ground, which is lined with roots, grass and stalks - it is well hidden under thorny tangles or shrubs. The nest is a hollow scrape lined with grass. 4-8 creamy yellow eggs are laid, hatching in about 3 weeks.
Lifespan: 80 - 100 years, seldom more. Length and weight: Mature Nile crocodiles average 4 to 5 meters in length with exceptionally large specimens reaching 6 meters. Large adults can weigh over 1000 kg. Habitat: Crocodiles are found in most game reserves throughout Africa, taking preference to rivers, lakes and wetlands. Diet and Feeding: Their diet varies quite considerably depending on its age or size. Hatchlings prey mainly on insects, frogs, small fish and crabs. As they grow larger they then start preying off larger fish like catfish as well as birds. Adults over 3 meters in length prey on birds, fish, various antelope species, monitor lizards, snakes, other predators including lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs as well as other crocodiles. Crocodiles are opportunistic predators and help clean water sources by feeding off any carrion they may find. Animals caught by crocodiles are normally dragged under water, causing suffocation. Larger prey species, too large to be dragged under water often die from a loss of blood and shock as a result of a number of different crocodiles gripping and tearing off flesh at the same time. When feeding off large prey, the crocodile, using its powerful jaws and gripping teeth, thrashes the prey around until small enough pieces to swallow are torn off. Crocodiles feeding on the same animal under water grab hold of the prey with a tight grip and then spin their bodies in order to break pieces of flesh off.
Day 3 – 18th December 2010 – Olifants – Shingwedzi
Today was a moving day so we got up at 3.30am to pack the van, picnic and have our usual morning coffee before departing at 4.35am.
The morning drive was 198km at an average speed of 22kph arriving at camp just after 1.30pm. It had been a long drive so we decided to grab a light lunch at the restaurant before checking in.
Before explaining this we must comment on the speed and total disregard for the park rules of the traffic utilising the Mozambican border post.
The first thing we noticed a Shingwedzi (one of our favourite camps) was that they were doing construction in the area around reception. We found it very strange to be doing this when reception said they were full and quiet at the beginning of January. The construction would not have been such an issue if they had not blocked the majority of the pathways with building materials.
I proceeded to the bathroom and it was disgusting with no water – i understand this happens with the rains but why was there not any information or sign provided so you can imagine for yourselves what it looked like.
We then proceeded to the restaurant for our light snack. The first shock was that they had installed a TV which was blaring – not our idea of what KNP should be about. It was not busy so waited for one of the waiters to arrive. After about 10 minutes someone arrived to take our order and when we stated we did not have any menus yet the look we got was of so what. Eventually we got the menus and decided on toasted cheese and ham, pie and gravy and ice tea.
After about 20 minutes the food arrived. SO was about to put the gravy on her pie when she noticed it was cold (not Luke warm we mean stone cold). She took it back to the restaurant and they took it away to heat it up without even an apology. When she got back i decided not to wait and have my sandwich as i did not want to wait for it to get cold – i need not have bothered as it was already stone cold inside. After waiting quite a while i told SO to start eating her pie as it would get cold – just as well she did as the gravy took ages to return by which time SO had finished her pie. Up to this point we had not received our drinks and when they eventually arrived they were wrong. SO went back to change them and while there asked for the manager. When she explained the issues she received the most plaza apology.
We eventually checked in and got to the chalet in not the best frame of mind. After unpacked we sat down and realised why we enjoyed Shingwedzi as the character of the place is special. We both still cannot get over what is the point in KNP upgrading facilities and accommodation if the service level is so pathetic.
Over our 3 night stay at Shingwedzi other visitors we meet had similar issues with one lady saying she thought all the staff had tsetse fly disease as they were half asleep. Maybe another example of this is that the black rubbish bags are moving to under the trees for collection we guess. Well they had still not been collected after 2 days and i do not understand the point of having open bins after informing us of the primate problem. Overall the service level was totally unacceptable.
Family groups are stable members maintaining strong bonds over many years. Mutual grooming where zebras stand together and nibble the hair on each other's neck and back, helps develop and preserve these bonds. Family members look out for one another if one becomes separated from the rest, the others search for it. The group adjusts its travelling pace to accommodate the old and the weak. The females within a family observe a strict hierarchical system. A dominant mare always leads the group, while others follow her in single file, each with their foals directly behind them. The lowest- ranking mare is the last in line. Although the stallion is the dominant member of the family, he operates outside the system and has no special place in the line. When a foal is born the mother keeps all other zebras (even the members of her family) away from it for 2 or 3 days, until it learns to recognize her by sight, voice and smell. While all foals have a close association with their mothers, the male foals are also close to their fathers. They leave their group on their own accord between the ages of 1 and 4 years to join an all-male bachelor group until they are strong enough to head a family.
Complex but stable social groups (also called troops) of 10 to 50 individuals mainly consist of adult females and their immature offspring. Males move freely in and out of these groups. Within the troop, each adult female is the centre of a small family network. Females who have reached puberty generally stay in the troop.
Grooming is important in a monkey's life. Vervets (as well as most other primates) spend several hours a day removing parasites, dirt or other material from one another's fur. In the primates' hierarchy, dominant individuals get the most grooming. The hierarchical system also controls feeding, mating, fighting, friendships and even survival. Infant vervet monkeys are suckled for about 4 months. When they become adept at feeding themselves solid food, the weaning process begins, although it may not be completed until the vervet is 1 year old. Close social bonds with female relatives begin to develop in infancy, relationships thought to endure throughout life.
The female leaves the herd and seeks a secluded spot to bear her fawn. After giving birth she cleans the fawn and eats the afterbirth. If the fawn is born at a time when there are few other young around, the mother will stay with it in seclusion spot for a few days or even leave it lying out for a week or more before returning to the herd. If there are many other fawns, she may take hers back to the herd in a day or two, where a nursery group may form. Because predators have more difficulty selecting an individual from a nursery group, the fawns are safer there. The young are suckled for 4 to 6 months and grow rapidly, reaching maturity at a little over a year. The young males, however, are evicted from their mothers' groups when they are 6 months old, staying around the edges of the herd until they join a bachelor group. During this transition period they are most vulnerable to predators. Males will not be mature enough to hold a territory until they are 5 or 6 years old.
Flap-necked chameleons are mainly insectivorous, feeding on small insects such as flies, grasshoppers and beetles. During prey capture both eyes are directed forwards, creating binocular like vision. The long tongue which is sticky is used to catch prey. Tongue length equals body length when fully extended. When threatened its body language is characterised by a gaping mouth which displays an orange colour lining. Simultaneously it raises the occipital flaps, inflates its body and rocks from side to side. It is reported to bite readily, though the bite carries no poison or venom. Hissing also occurs. It is predated on by large birds, monkeys and snakes.
Tawny Eagle (is this ID correct)
The Tawny Eagle's diet is largely fresh carrion of all kinds, but it will kill small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, reptiles and birds up to the size of guinea fowl. It will also steal food from other raptors. The call of the Tawny Eagle is a crow-like barking, but it is rather a silent bird except in display. It is a resident breeder which lays 1–3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree, crag or on the ground. This is a large eagle -- about 62—72 cm in length and a wingspan of 165-185 cm. It weighs 1.6–-2.4 kg. It has tawny upperparts and blackish flight feathers and tail. The lower back is very pale.