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Big Game Week



The week before we left for Nairobi was quite extraordinary from a big game viewing perspective…you see, when you visit the Masai Mara, you can almost guarantee to tick off all the major big game species within a few days, but in Tsavo, this is quite unusual, due to the different terrain and thicker bush. That’s what makes Tsavo such an exciting ecosystem to me, the fact that you never know what you’re going to see…it has a certain mystique…that’s why it makes such a great destination for the seasoned visitor to Africa who’s here more for the excitement than for a guaranteed viewing of the big five in a day…

With the hinterland drying up, more and more of the big game is coming back to the river, and I think it is this which has made the last few weeks so magical. It started with the antelope – we’ve had regular sightings of Lesser Kudu, big herds of Impala (plus our resident young bachelors, including One-Horn), Waterbuck and of course masses of Dikdik. The Warthogs are back too.

Female Lesser Kudu across the river from the house

One of our resident young Impala rams just below the house

A mother and baby Waterbuck, part of a herd that regularly
drinks from the river just to the right of our house

As for our regulars, the river seems to become more and more crocodile-infested by the day. As well as some really big old boys, we’ve been seeing a lot of small crocodiles, so they’re obviously breeding apace and getting more than enough to eat, with all the fish in the river and the odd bigger meal as well. Talking of regulars, the baboons are around too, in great noisy troops – still coming down onto the sandbank at dusk to play and relax. The hippos too are thriving in their deep water pool at Hippo Bend. I'm planning to write a separate post about them before long.

A small crocodile basks in the sun, behind a trail of hippo tracks

The herd of buffalo that came onto the beach one evening at dusk was somewhat unexpected – over one hundred of them! We watched them from our balcony as they ambled across our sandbank and then crossed the river into the National Park…of course, as luck would have it, the light had already started fading as the sun had fallen below the tree line, but nonetheless I couldn’t resist taking some photos – it’s not every day we can say we had 100 buffaloes in our “back yard”!

As if that weren’t enough, a couple of days later, three old bull buffalo came down for a drink in the river, and one stayed behind for a what looked like a really good wallow!

A jolly good mud bath!

Following on from the buffalo, you can imagine our delight when I heard a crashing and crunching sound from the reeds opposite the house, again late in the evening in fading light: two bull elephants had appeared and were making a hearty meal of the reeds. They were literally right in front of the house and we spent a fabulous fifteen minutes watching them.

Then the two bulls lumbered off upstream, and a few minutes later, when it was almost too dark to make them out, we watched their great dark shapes wade across the river onto our property and disappear into the thick riverine vegetation.

Can you just make out the two dark hulks as they reach our beach?

But that’s not all! The following day – again at last light (oh - the photographer’s frustration!), we were sitting on the balcony enjoying the peace of evening, when suddenly, there on the beach below the house, was a leopard! How long had it been silently sitting there, without us noticing it? What a shame the light was so low, and my photos so fuzzy as a result, but I think you should be able to make out the spotted, feline shape nonetheless…

As I said, what a week that was!

With so much wildlife around over these last few weeks, it's impossible to include all my photos in posts, but if you want to see more images of the wild animals around and about our Kulafumbi home, you can take a look here:

MAY WILDLIFE: elephants, buffalo, kudu, baboons & more...

JUNE WILDLIFE: crocodiles, leopard, warthogs, squirrels & more...


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