In my opinion this was our best morning game drive so far as we started the day with African Golden Oriole at the lodge, 3 Double-banded Sandgrouse and some Southern Red-billed Hornbills beside the road, followed by a magnificent male Lion striding out of the bush towards us and passing within 3 metres of our vehicle!
Ok the deal with Lions is if you’ve never seen one before then they are quite impressive, however most views are of animals lounging around under a tree, doing nothing. But we’ve been lucky so far to see them on the move and doing something, but this animal was the best of the lot. Whether it was the scenery behind him, the fact he walked within 3 metres of our vehicle or both I don’t know, but I can tell you my heart was racing!
|Our best sighting of Lion - magnificent!|
The scenery was pure Africa with wide open horizons dotted with acacias and huge expanses of grassland with numerous animals grazing. Superb! Several flocks of Burchell’s Sandgrouse came down to drink at a waterhole, a Brown-crowned Tchagra appeared, a couple of Marabou Storks were standing in a marsh, a fine Bateleur drifted over, and we also had nice looks at Scaly-feathered Finch.
|Quite evocative hearing these Burchell's Sandgrouse flying around us..|
At the large lake we found our first Southern Pochard, whilst a non-breeding plover took some working out but appeared to be a Pacific Golden Plover – a very rare bird here. At the far end a Saddle-billed Stork was a great sighting, whilst another Great Spotted Cuckoo was also nice.
We also had this morning a Red-necked Falcon, White-backed Vulture, pair of Lappet-faced Vultures on a nest, numerous Kori Bustards, 2 distant Blue Cranes, Kittlitz’s Plover, more Temminck’s Coursers, Whiskered Tern, African Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, flocks of Red-billed Quelea, Yellow Canary and Wattled Starling.
At Namutoni fort we walked out to the waterhole but it was very quiet, although both Red and Yellow-crowned Bishops were nice. At a large fruiting tree we saw our first Red-faced Mousebird, along with Long-billed Crombec, Brubru, Black-backed Puffback, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Pearl-spotted Owlet, and another African Scops Owl.
The afternoon safari started off quiet but I most remember it for the number of Spotted Hyenas we found. The first one at a waterhole was something of a surprise, then another one came in and circled some Zebras before walking away.
A huge Greater Kudu was also rather impressive here. On the drive back we came across another hyena just lounging beside the track, and then we had three more leaving the park.
|Helmeted Guineafowl are common|
A pair of Tawny Eagles were also impressive, a Spotted Thick-knee was a good find, whilst we had more Kori Bustards & Secretarybirds, a loose flock of over 40 African Grey Hornbills was impressive, and near our lodge both Damara Dik-Dik and our first Common Duiker was nice.