Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Africa 2016: South Africa, Zambia & Zimbabwe

In September 2016 we made our 2nd trip to Africa.

Here is where we visited.

In South Africa

  • Pilanesberg National Park (day trip out of Johhannesburg)

In Zambia

  • Shumba Camp on the Busanga plain, Kafue National Park (3 nights)
  • Anabezi on the Lower Zambezi River (3 nights)

In Zimbabwe

Back in Johannesburg
  • The Leopard Bistro for dinner (in Melville).  We dined here because of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" episode on food in Johannesburg. Its reputation as the best bistro in Joburg is well-deserved.
Here are some notes on this series of blog posts.

There are 10 posts in the series, including this one.  Photos and videos were clustered roughly by animal category (e.g., Antelopes) and formed into videos using the Pinnacle video editor on Bill's iPad and posted on YouTube.

Roughing it Maki style

Here are pictures from our four camps and the Victoria Falls Hotel. (Pilanesberg was a day trip so there are no pictures of a camp for that day.)  Note especially the pictures of the hot air balloon ride we did while at Shumba.  Most of the time we were barely above tree level.

Several species of antelope

There are Lechwe, Impala, Sable, Roan, and the clip starts with kudus locking horns, the latter shot in Pilanesberg.

Many hippos and one crocodile

This clip features Hippos, some seen from our hot air balloon, and a croc.  The narrator for the close-up of two Hippos terra-forming is the German fellow who runs the hot air balloon company.  Some of the shots were taken while on a canoe ride on the Zambesi.

Wilde - and other beasts

Here we have Wildebeasts, Zebras, Cape Buffalo, and warthogs, mainly.

Elephants at the Little Makalolo watering hole

At Little Mak we had many opportunities to observe the elephants taking baths and drinking at the permanent water hole - just a few dozen yards from our tent.  Of special note is the behaviors of the very young elephants mimicking their elders.

Elephants at play crossing the river

Each morning a group of 5 young males cross the lower Zambesi to reach an island covered in reeds with succulent roots.  The elephants use the trunks to pull up a cluster of reeds and then pound the roots against their legs to knock off the dirt.  At the end of the day, they return to the mainland. Note in this video that they stop midway across the channel and look to be doing some male rough-housing. When they climb out of the water, note that one helps the other up the bank with some head nudges.  Also note that they climb out on their knees before rising.

Giraffes big and tall

We shot some of the giraffes at Pilanesberg but the drinking episodes are from Little Mak.  Note that giraffes cannot lower their heads to drink water. To drink, they must spread their front legs to decrease the distance to the water surface.

Here is an interesting piece on the pumping mechanism used by giraffes to drink.

Birds great and small

Africa is a birding paradise. This is a sample of some of the birds we saw (and could identify). Note especially the Raquet-tailed Roller which we understood from our guide to be a very rare sighting.

Big cats

Last - but not at all the least -are the big cats. You might recall that Cecil the Lion was shot by "the dentist"after being lured outside the boundaries of Hwange park. Cecil often brought his cubs, we were were told, to rest in the shade of our vehicles while the cubs played with the tires. In this video you will see Cecil's son, Xander, mating with a lioness.  You will also see post-kill footages of a leopard consuming its kill in a tree.