Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Zambezi Giraffes

We had been following the dusty trail along the banks of the Zambezi River for the last half an hour. The usual suspects; hippos, crocodiles and a variety of water birds; were prolific along the shallow edge of the river. A few puku were drinking near one sweeping sand bar with a dominant male keeping a wary eye some large crocodiles basking nearby;  typical African afternoon on the mighty river.

We rounded another bend and came up on a raised embankment where our guide had chosen a safe place for an afternoon snack and drinks when the ‘wild-scape’ took an unusual turn. There, by the edge of the river were half a dozen giraffes; four calves and two adults close to the water with several more adults further back in the bush (a group of giraffes is called a tower).  The adults were watching the youngsters frolicking by the water in what appeared to be a kind of crèche situation. Quite a scene to enjoy while we sipped our drinks and munched on home-made cookies.

Though we encountered many more giraffes on our safari drives in the South Luangwa Natonal Park this was, without doubt, the most memorable.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Swamp Elephants

                 Swamp Elephants

The lake is choked with Nile cabbage an invasive weed that can take over large areas creating problems for wildlife but not for the ever present crocodiles. I can see the heads and eyes of several massive specimens from the shoreline where we are having a morning break. We have been following a herd of elephants for the last half an hour and they are now gorging themselves on vegetation plants on the opposite side of the water.

The big male seems to be keeping watch while the females and their calves approach the water. They are wary as crocodiles have been known to snatch a calf and even lock on to an adult’ s trunk. Eventually the male wades into the swamp and starts to fed. However the rest of the herd is more circumspect and continue to watch him from the relative safety of the bank.

We observe the herd for the rest of our break then move on to another location where our guide thinks there is another group with several nursing females and some young bulls in the vicinity.