Wriiten by: Sue Stolberger
I have been enjoying a wonderful time at Ruaha, it is the height of the dry season so it is pretty hot, though we are lucky to have a good breeze most of the time. Animals have been parading past our camp on a daily basis. Every day brings new joys, we never know who is going to turn up next.
We have been seriously spoiled and we haven’t had to move from the comfort of our verandah to get some great sightings!
One afternoon a huge herd of buffalo appeared and they just kept coming, in the end there was well over 500!
We have had a continuous stream of giraffe, kongoni and zebra, they spend hours munching the grass in front of camp, we are particularly pleased as kongoni are usually very shy , but the two herds that come and go are really becoming very tame now!
The other morning I awoke to find this lovely beast outside my window. As soon as the sun was up I grabbed the camera and crept onto the veranda, he was so relaxed I got some wonderful photos of him, he seemed to be more curious in me than afraid. It was marvellous, I have not been so close to one of these animals before.
The black mark on his side is from his nose, they have a habit of rubbing their noses on their side, and as the ground is burned, his nose must have quite a lot of ash on it. As you can see from his expression he has seen me, and is gently curious, he didn’t run away but allowed me to watch him some more. He must have been about 6 meters from me, the dark shadow on the right of the photo is my tent.
Kongoni are really beautiful animals, the Bushmen held them in high regard as they have family groups similar to humans, they never go around in big herds.
We then had a massive herd of Eland coming to eat the salt that is in the sand just opposite my camp, these animals are also usually shy but they paid no attention to us and spent several hours milling around.
We counted at least 12 babies amongst the herd. The babies usually keep together like a kind of kindergarten, with one or two females keeping watch over them
Then we had a ground hornbill, though these are not rare, we dont often see them striding along near camp! We often hear them in the early mornings though. We have also seen a beautiful green wood-hoopoe, we think they are feeding babies at the moment, as they are rather secretive but very busy looking for food.
One morning I awoke to find this marvelous male reed buck outside my window, like the kongoni I waited till the sun was up before getting some lovely pics of him. The reed buck are now very tame. We really enjoy having them around and are getting to know their individual characters.
As he moved away I took a picture of him just behind my tent.
One lunch time we had a lone, juvenile male impala, this is only the third impala we have seen here, they do not live in this habitat. We think that he may have been chased by a lion and lost his way, he has a very long walk before he finds another impala. He had been lying for about three hours in the shade of a big fig tree in the company of zebras who were dozing in the sun near by. I am sure he needed to rest , the zebras made him feel safe while he closed his eyes for a while, we suspect he has been on the ‘run’ for some days.
He resumed his lonely march in the searing sun. Hopefully he will find some friends soon.
We marveled at how the zebras like to stand out in the hot sun whilst most other animals, including us, seek the shade in the heat of the day!
Thank you for spending a few minutes immersed in the wonderful, natural world we all share.