Saturday 11 February 2017

Leopard, lions and Omajowas

On the way home one evening we came across a young female leopard and we proceeded to follow her as she wondered through the bush.  This young leopard was very relaxed and let us follow and watch her for over an hour.  Eventually we had to leave as the kids needed dinner.  This leopard is part of the 'Geology' family and was named Meander after the drainage line she spent some of her time while we watched her.  Incidentally, the secret road that we followed her across the drainage line was named Meander's Secret.

The bush is finally started to get green with grass growing in most places but for the grass to flourish more regular rain is required otherwise the sun will dry out and kill the new grass.

We went on a game drive for a change one afternoon and found a pride of lions including a cub which was about 9 months old.  The pride were very relaxed and even inquisitive and came for a closer look so we ended up being just a few metres from a lioness - great for photos.

Things seem to happen while driving to and from the lodge.  One morning we had just entered the reserve and Tasha was driving but sorting Kiara out so was not watching the road or bush for wildlife when suddenly we heard a series of loud snorts and discovered we had surprised a black R\rhino which proceeded to chase us down the road.  Fortunately we were going fairly fast (50km/h) and the rhino gave up very quickly.  Just shows how quickly you can get into trouble in the bush if you are not aware of your surroundings.

Another morning on the way to work we found some Omajowa mushrooms growing out a large termite mound.  See this web site:   These mushrooms come out a day or two after the rains and are highly prized for their flavour.  In addition to being edible and tasty, they are LARGE and will cover a dinner plate!  That night we had fried mushrooms for dinner which were very filling indeed.

Well, all good things have to come to an end and we had to leave.  We had spent just over two months in Namibia and had done and seen some wonderful things.  The rain has continued to come down and the ponies are now out grazing with radio collars on so they can be found and put in their stables for the nights.

A young female leopard

Meander relaxing in the river bed

Mother lioness

Friendly lion cub

Elephants enjoying a bath in the dam by the restaurant

The river filling the dam at the house after a storm

Morning light on the new grass

Elephant on the way home

A large black mamba on the way to work

At last we found some Omajowas

As large as a dinner plate!

Preparing dinner

Monday 16 January 2017

Rain, bugs and cheetah

We had some really good rain over the weekend which has filled almost all the dams.  The Omaruru river has been flowing relieving the severe drought in the town of Omaruru.  The dam at the lodge is almost full and there is a lot of water in the dam at Tasha's house.

For the first time bull frogs have appeared at Tasha's dam which was very exciting.  These frogs have real teeth and can cause nasty bites as can be seen in this video

With the rain comes all the bugs, flying ants and flying termites, so we have to close up the house or be overrun!!

Last week on Thursday three new cheetahs arrived from CCF (Cheeta Conservation Fund).  We released them into a boma to get used to their environment.  These cheetahs are 3 males that are about 4 years old and are supposed to be used to people and vehicles, but it turns out they are not.  These cheetahs are so used to being fed pieces of meat that they are not feeding properly on an impala carcass that was provided for them.  Looks like they will be a challenge to habituate them so they can be viewed when released into the reserve.

Last night on the way home from checking up on the cheetah we came across a number of bull frogs hopping down the road so we decided to collect them and release them at our dam before the Maribu Storks eat them all.  When we released them we counted 16 frogs which more than doubled the population on the dam by the house.

A Solifuge

A Yellow-billed Kite

A Cheetah waiting to be released

A full Lake Giraffe

The lodge dam is almost full

The river flowing into the dam by the house

The house dam filling up

The next morning

The bull frogs appear

A large male bull frog

Fighting for mating rights

A terrapin

Thursday 5 January 2017

Fish, frogs and snakes

Unfortunately the Maribou Storks ate all the bull frogs so we never got to see them closeup.  These storks are resident here because of all the available food which has now resulted in all the frogs being eaten.  Fortunately some frogs did manage to lat eggs and some tadpoles have hatched.

We have had a little more rain so the animals are dispersing and we see less of them although we do see some interesting smaller critters.  We found a Tailless Whip Scorpion in the house which is harmless but rather intimidating.  Some of the guides went fishing in the local small reservoir and caught a 10.5kg catfish!

We fed the wild dogs a couple of times which is quite thrilling riding on the back of the bakkie (ute) and having the dogs run alongside at 60 kph. They (25 dogs) devour a full grown impala in 15 minutes.

We have been mapping a lot more roads so the map is really improving all the time.  On our drives we came across a dead puffadder, rhinos and tortoises.

Today an egg-eater snake was brought to us so we photographed it and fed it an egg which it duly ate without us even seeing it!  When the egg is swallowed it is broken open by bony protrusions called gular teeth in the back of the throat and then the eggs shell is spat out.

Soon after we went out into the bush to see an African Rock Python which has recently shed its skin and was lying in the shade of a shepherd's tree.  We photographed it and then headed back to the lodge too look at all the pictures.

Tailless Whip Scorpion

Black Rhino

Leopard Toroise

Sparring elephant bulls

Rhombic Egg-eater snake

10.5 kg Catfish

African Wild Dogs running alongside the vehicle

Dead puffadder

African Rock Python

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Christmas etc.

Gill and Eddie arrived on the 22nd and we had a great time with game drives, cheetah walk and finding one of Tasha's favourite leopards, Honey-thorn and her cub Ximenia.

We had Christmas dinner on the night of the 24th at Tasha and GP's house with roast turkey etc.  We all ate and drank too much but it was fun.  Vlasta and I drove to the lodge on Christmas afternoon to spend some time with Gill and Eddie and while sitting on the deck in front of the lodge we had 17mm of rain and the dam filled up about 2 metres.  We had to detour around a flowing river to get home that evening.

This morning we drove past Bull Frog Pan and all the bull frogs were out!

Rain coming!
Black Rhino

Cheetah on the walk

Viewing the cheetah resting

Watching a leopard

Honey-thorn and Ximenia

Zebra snake - part of the cobra family.
Double-banded Sand Grouse.

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater

Tawny Eagle

Thursday 15 December 2016

Some additional photos

Elephant Trunk


Lion Pair

Grey Heron landing

Male Lion

Lion sheltering from the heat

Eland Bull

Elephant Trunk


Rock Martins

Elephant Bull at the restaurant

Bull elephant at the retaurant

Stripe-bellied Sand Snake

Mountain Zebra on Dik Dik Pass