Thursday, 14 October 2010

Safari Day 7. Exeter River Lodge

Another early morning start, and when we arrived at the main lodge, the rangers and trackers were excited to tell us that overnight the lions has tracked down a buffalo and managed to bring it down about 12 km away from the lodge, not far from the main entrance of Sabi Sands.
Everyone was keen to get going to ensure that we would be able to see the lions with their kill.
Before we left the lodge, Cameron spotted this Foam Nest Frog sitting on a log.
After a photo of the frog, we got into the jeep and made our way towards the lions. Right near the main gate of Sabi Sands, and conveniently right beside the track, the lions lay near the buffalo they brought down the night before.
 Their tummies were bulging, and when this lion did the big rollover move, he groaned....imagine how you feel after stuffing yourself for Christmas Dinner, I am sure the lions felt the same way.
 One lion remains on guard to ensure no one tries to steal their kill.
 The hooded vultures and white back vultures sit in a tree waiting patiently for their turn at the buffalo.
We also saw
Buffalo (living)
Loved these red bellied oxpeckers who sit on the large mammals and eat any ticks or parasites on them.
Leopard (Phil's favourite)

This is also the area that was hit by the electrical storm that we viewed from Bongani a few nights earlier.  Some of the trees were still smouldering a bit.

Hippos (well the top part of hippos)
Dwarf Mongoose
African Funnel Web Spider

There was a huge amount of different  birdlife this morning.
Swainson's Francolin
Natal Spurfowl
Helmeted Guineafowl
Cape Turtle Dove
Grey Go-away-bird
Fiery Necked Nightjar
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Giant Kingfisher
African Hoopoe
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Bearded Woodpecker
African Grey Hornbill
Chin-spot Batis
Black-crowned Tchagra
Blue Waxbill
Goliath Heron
Hadeda Ibis
Egyptian Geese
Hooded Vulture
Tawny Eagle
African Fish Eagle
Brown Snake-Eagle
Black Crake
Emerald Spotted Dove
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Black-headed Eastern Oriole
African White-backed Vulture
African Jacana
African Green Pigeon
Southern Black Flycatcher

It was a fantastic morning drive.
We got back to the lodge for breakfast and didn't stop talking between us about all the amazing animals we had seen this morning.  It was the first time we had seen a leopard and a cheetah in the wild, and the birdlife was incredible.
Lunchtime was eventful in more ways than one.
A terrific lunch set up on the balcony of the main lodge, where we were able to watch the elephants beside the river.
The highlight for Cameron was watching Ronny and the other staff armed with slingshots, trying to scare the monkeys from coming down the trees and stealing lunch for the guests.  They never tried to hit the monkeys, just frighten them enough that got them to move away.  Ronny taught Cameron how to use the slingshot, and he had a great time firing small stones into the distance.
Then just after lunch finished, a monkey sitting in the tree right above Nicole decided it was time for a toilet break and did it right there.  All of a sudden Nicole was covered in monkey poo down her shirt and all over her arm.  The kids thought it was hilarious, and the staff couldn't be more apologetic, but Nicole just laughed it off after the shock of it, and went back to the room to change into another shirt and wash her arms.
As soon as Nicole got back to the room, she watched in amazement as 3 elephants came up to the front and the sides of her room.  She was "stuck" in her room until the elephants decided to clear off.  That was OK, Nicole just sat near the window and watched the elephants strip the leaves off the trees.
Eventually the elephants wandered off, and a security guard came down to the room to escort Nicole back to the main lodge, just incase the elephants decided to come back.
Afternoon Drive
This afternoon we saw
Tree Squirrel
Leopard, and we smelt before we saw the kudu in the tree that he had caught earlier.
 (not a great photo, as it was getting dark)
Fork-ttailed Drongo
Grey Go-away Bird
Red-billed Oxpecker
Lilac-breasted Roller
African Green Pigeons
We also learnt the word "coprophage" which is something that eats poo. I think it is the boys favourite new word!
On the way to dinner we looked in on the gift shop at the lodge.  On a shopping bag was this quote
"I am where I have been"
It's a great quote that we all can relate to!

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