Friday, May 02, 2008

Roar Nature

I have to confess, this title is stolen from a couple of people we met recently who have set up a safari company with the same name, except spelt 'Raw Nature'. I prefer to spell my puns out and have gone for the more obvious option.

And I also have to confess, this post also feels a little showy-offy. But honest, it's only because my flickr uploader fails to work with our intermittent internet connection that I am forced to showcase the photos here in such a smug fashion.

So, here are some more safari shots from a great game drive. I'm hoping this blog will settle into some more insightful stuff about everyday life here once we get on top of the hours (at the moment they are still on top of us...). Until then, I'm making like a tourist...

I went on a game drive and I saw...

Actually, I didn't even have to leave the camp and I saw...

One large snouty warthog, bedding down in the afternoon sunshine...

Two curious buffalo, who stared us down as we drank our coffee one morning overlooking the escarpment...

A scraggy old maribou stork. They really are ugly looking buggers...

And here is what I think is an Abyssinian Stork. Or something like that. My bird brain fails to remember bird species and the book is down at the house...

A baboon, seen, along with the stork, on the way into the park.

A Ugandan Kob and her young, in long grass on the northern banks of the Nile.

A male Kob. About to run.

Continuing the hoofed variety, here is a Jackson's Haartebeest. With eyes on stalks. But don't think this one is merely a little surprised to see us - they all look like that, permanently.

And now to my favourites. The lovely elegant giraffes. They are so serene looking. I love 'em.

A baby giraffe once chewed my fringe, when I was a production assistant on an TV ad shoot for Marwell Zoo in Hampshire. That was a pretty special experience. So was this, just with less chewing.

And here we re-visit the mighty buffalo, an animal I cannot take seriously since a friend once told me they remind him of Dutch Milkmaids. But they can see off lions, when in number (and humans when old, solo and cranky), so they should be given a little respect.

(But even when wiping the milkmaid reference from my mind, I then only see the similarity between them and a rather bovine pony my sister used to ride...)

Here's a dutch milkmaid taking a mud-bath!

And on to even bigger game. The might Oliphant. Here's an old bull who's not really that pissed off with us. We were some way away and I was on a 300mm zoom, taking a million shots to try and get one of him with his ears out akimbo. However, shortly after this was taken we did move on. There is only so much patience you'll willing to test when facing a beast twice the weight of your vehicle.

(As an aside I was told a horrifying story about a recent game drive gone horribly wrong. An Indian family were visiting relatives in Uganda and went on a game drive. Not realising that African Elephants are somewhat less docile than Indian Elephants, the small child with them rushed out of the car to run up to the first big elephant they saw. The father followed. I'm not sure whether the father was running to warn the child, or to greet the Elephant with the same naive enthusiasm. Either way, the Elephant ignored the small child and focused on the adult. He reportedly picked him up with his trunk, tossed him in the air like a matchstick, and caught him on his tusks. So relaxed as we thought this elephant was, it was probably best we moved on when we did...)

Here's another elephant. As another aside, I also have heard (from more than one source) that there is an elephant at Murchison who does not have a trunk. I didn't see him. But I did see a hippo without an ear.

And finally, the big cat sighting of the trip. We actually saw three lions, this old geezer and two younger cubs. But the latter were so far off they were lost as far as camera opportunities are concerned. As for the leopard, he proved evasive. The game drive two days before ours saw one and didn't realise how lucky they were. They usually come out at night, and although numbers are growing, they are rare to sight in Murchison. Our boss has lived in Uganda for ten years and has never seen one here. She said she'd fire us if we came back having seen one on our first game drive.

So just for the record Debbie, no we did not see a leopard. Honest.

Here's our only big cat moment of the day... Look, no leopards!

But if you really closely, you can see the Blue Mountains of the Congo in the background.


Dr Jude said...

OK, now I'm jealous (as I sit here reading endlessly about waste flows and industrial activity). I will poke Steve until he books our trip for this Xmas ... !

Steve said...

watch for the baboons... they're evil