tedredrum, Pumbaa, hilda, MM and Trrp-trrrrrrr
thanks for staying with us on our adventure, and for the kind words.Bush Walk #2
It seems like my head just hit the pillow and now the alarm is telling me it's time to get up for our Mopani bush walk. We have to be at reception at 4:15. Yesterday on the way to Stapelkop Dam the thermometer in the car read 47c, if it gets that hot again we will drop dead from the heat somewhere in the bush.
Shortly after we arrive at reception a safari vehicle arrives, driven by our new friend Amos who has brought Frank, one of the Game Rangers who works out of Mopani. Amos's regular field guide partner is on holiday so Frank has been enlisted to be the second. He is armed with an automatic rifle and enough bullets to stop an army. As we load up, Amos tells us it will just be Torticat and I once again. This might prove to be interesting.
We drove to the Confluence lookout and parked at the end of the loop. After a short walk north, we went down the river bank, and up the other side into the bush.
Lots of birds, and a few Impala were spotted when we reached the top of the opposite bank, after walking along the bank for a few minutes it was into the bush and away from the river. First thing we spotted was a Verreaux's Eagle Owl, who watched us closely as we walked in a line with Amos in the lead. After walking for about ten minutes we came upon a Giraffe carcass. Amos said that it had died of old age.
Torticat and I were both fascinated, you just don't get this opportunity when you are sitting in a vehicle.
She filmed the carcass and got closeups of skull, teeth and body, though I doubt any of our friends will be interested.
Amos and frank found some of the Giraffes tail hairs to show us, they were long and felt as strong as fishing line. Torticat was proud of her restraint, as she didn't try to sneak out Giraffe teeth, skull, hooves, tail hairs or pieces of hide.
Soon we were off heading further into the bush. Next we spotted more Impala, who quickly ran the opposite direction. Oh look a turtle shell
We were now over an hour and a half into our walk, and had traveled quite a ways into the bush. Amos and Frank seemed pleased that we were so interested in small things, and in their stories. We got to a bush and Amos broke off a small bit and had us smell it. It smelled terrible. He told us that it used to be called the Cat Pee bush, and said that Lion will often lay down in the bush near waterholes, as it is so foul smelling that it masks their smell. He laughed and said they now call it the Zebra Sweat bush to be more proper.
Soon we heard and saw a large herd of Cape Buffalo coming in our direction. Amos had us sit up against a large dead bush and we all watched as the came closer, not knowing that we were there. Soon they were about 30 meters in front of us, and more began to move closer on both sides of where we sat, still unaware of our presence. As we sat motionless, more and more closed in around us, with a number of them within 20 meters behind us, and 50 or 60 more to the other side probably 40 meters away. The lead two who were directly in front of us, kept looking in our direction, like they knew something was there, but they were unsure what it was. I was able to take this one picture, but didn't dare take any more afraid they would hear the shutter when I took pictures.
Insects were landing on us and biting. Soon Frank, the Game Ranger slapped the side of his face to get rid of one of the biting flies. The slap sounded like a gun shot and the Buffs realized we were there, those directly in front of us turned around and stampeded off, with the other couple hundred following behind. It sounded like a freight train, and they were running past us on both sides. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.
Amos led us off in a direction paralleling the Buffalo and we kept getting glimpses of them crashing through the bush. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest.
More to come soon............