So the last blog was written on the road from Etosha National Park and Windhoek where we stayed the night. We are now back in Johannesburg after an eventful time at the Windhoek Airport – more on that in a subsequent blog.
Anyway, after the sighting of the lions and their kill, we were off for a surprise adventure. Shaun is big on surprises! On the way we spied dung beetles. Now I had no idea how excited Terry would get about seeing dung beetles, but it was right up there with my marriage proposal. For those of you unfamiliar with dung beetles, let me explain. These little guys and gals create a ball of dung by rolling a bit around and around a pile of dung. They are very industrious because the ball becomes the home of the larva. Who knew.
Then you start rolling. I seem to recall Shaun saying they are upside down – which makes sense – who wants to stick their head in a pile of dung, anyway? Roll little guys roll.
They are also a little combative as we saw. One guy had worked himself up a pretty good ball when another one came over and tried to take it for his own. There was a little scrap and the interloper lost and moved on. The locals call them “klepto-copters” because of this thievery and their funny way of flying, like a helicopter.
Now on to the surprise. Shaun had been promising us we had have a good look at a Hippo – up close and personal.
Enter Jessica. Jessica is a “tame” hippo. She was washed up on the bank of a river after a flash flood. Her “owner” was looking at the damage from his veranda when he saw something move in debris. Much to his surprise, it was a baby hippo with the umbilical cord still wrapped around its neck. He took it in and he and his wife nursed it with a bottle. She now swims freely in the river, venturing out to play with the wild hippos during the day but always coming back in the evenings. She has reached sufficient weight to hold a male during copulation, which occurs in the water, so the keepers are hopeful of another little one soon. He says emphatically that he plans to be in the water to catch it as Jess gives birth. Agreed–this couple are a little out there but very loving of animals.
Cindy, Terry and Gary had no difficulty feeding her.
kiss her – that may not be a bad thing. I am serious about the voice thing. The woman in the background is very strict about that.
On the way back we stopped to see a Baobob tree. They can grow for hundreds of years. They estimate this one is about 500 years old.
After a rest it was off for another game drive. We didn’t spot much – a cheetah and a couple of rhinos
There is a wonderful concept here called sundowners. It is much like our happy hour, but they always try to find a spot where one can watch the sun go down. Here are a few of our sunsets.
So after sunset, we’re off for a little night tracking. We pull around the corner, off on track and onto another and
sitting on the road about 25 feet in front of us, there he was. The last of the big 5–a leopard.. He was incredible. He just sat there watching something, not bothered in the least by us, the truck or the light Patrick the tracker was focusing on him. We were wild with excitement, but had to remain very very quiet so that he didn’t wander off because he was disturbed. After about 5 minutes though that was what he did and despite a valiant attempt by Shaun and Patrick, we didn’t see him again. We were very fortunate that he found us because they are the most difficult of the big five to spot.
We slept well that night.