Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ikuka Day 2

Day two at Ikuka camp was our first morning waking up there. It was another EARLY rise and shine. We were up at 5am for a departing time of 5:30am. We woke and dressed zipping ourselves out of out tent walls that were dropped while we were at dinner the previous night. We woke the girls about 10 minutes before departure and helped them dress amidst moans and groans of sleepiness. Our camp delivered coffee and cookies to our tent each morning which was just what I needed to get us going. Being on top of the hill meant it was cooler in the mornings. We planned ahead and bundled up in our warmer clothes. The truck had blankets for our laps with hot water bottles in them to snuggle and keep us warm. Once we reached the river bed it warmed up a bit and we were greeted by a large pride of lions in the same area we had spotted a few the night before. 
It was a large pride with several adult females and one adult male plus tons of cubs.

Their golden coloring is so beautiful and you can see how well they blend in to their surroundings.

It got to be quite the popular spot when word got out that the pride was here so the lions decided to proceed further in the brush to get away from us. 

Little cub twins.
We headed out to give them some space and see what else we could find. The giraffe are always plentiful.

We also saw this little fella, a hyrax. He looks like a ground squirrel without the fluffy tail. They are actually related to the elephant family.

This elephant herd had just come up from drinking at the river.
They were covered and caked in mud and still partially wet.

We saw several kudu which are a large spiral horned antelope. They always seemed to bolt when we neared them and provided a tricky one to photo.
We would often drive by a shaded tree area and think nothing of it until Geoffrey would point out an animal resting in the shade like this lion.

The African ground hornbill.
There are plenty of impala here too and they didn't seem as bashful as the ones in Selous. 
After a full morning of animal spotting we stopped at a camp site near the dry river bed for lunch. It had little tables and shade and even more delightful....restrooms. No marking your territory here in Ruaha.
The camp packed a lovely breakfast of egg sandwiches and bacon, sausage, fruit and granola. Don't forget the large thermos of coffee. We had just started to warm up from the cool morning temps. We started to peel off our layers of sweatshirts and pants.
Fueled up and ready for more adventure. The roads in the park are marked out and all gravel and dirt. We don't always stick to roads though and often go off into the brush to find animals that are hiding out. If it is wide enough to walk it is apparently wide enough for our vehicle. 
We soon realized there was no such thing as too small or too tight to fit this truck. Hold on tight, better yet buckle up because it can be a wild ride. We had several spills off the seats before we were told there are actually seat belts and started to buckle up.
There is always something to see even when your searching for the elusive leopards. We saw this sweet colorful bird. People come to Africa specifically for bird watching!
We stopped to watch this little vervet monkey troop.
You can give us a baby of any species of animal and we will sit in wonder ooohing and ahhing.
We saw a giant group of African buffalo. They were crossing the river bed in a huge herd.

With all the exciting adventures around us it was still hard not to want an afternoon siesta. It's hard work getting up so early and riding on essentially a wild ride for four hour stretches.

Lily had a list of animals that Grampy (Babu) printed off for her to check off as we saw them. She kept it in her little blue fanny pack with a pencil and her camera. She diligently checked off the animals, birds, and trees. This gorgeous baobab trunk served as the perfect backdrop.

It was about time to head back up to camp for lunch and a rest. From down below the hill you can see the rooftops of camp in the distance. The fresh roof top is our Hondo Hondo and the one to the left of it is Granny and Grampy's.

After lunch we had a relax and did a little first aid to Grampy's ear. He had a spill out of his seat in the truck that morning after the back of the truck hit a big hole and dropped us down. He caught his ear somehow and had a pretty big gash. We had stopped the bleeding earlier but needed to make sure it was well cleaned out and antiseptic applied with sturdy bandages. We didn't need any infections on the trip. 

We had a little down time with some resting, reading, and swimming. 

For the afternoon game drive Bibi and Babu decided to stay back and rest with Gemma. Alex, Lily and I went out with Geoffrey to try and find a leopard. We went to a rocky area where the leopard like to hunt. We saw lots of fresh tracks and the hyrax were screeching to warn that the predator was near but as soon as he would hear our vehicle he would hide out. 

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