Monday, July 15, 2019

Ikuka Day 3

Rise and shine again the next morning. When our lovely host delivered coffee to our room at the early hour of five am and did not see Lily and Gemma anywhere she worried something was wrong. Oh no, its all fine here I reassured her, we don't wake them until 10 minutes to go. Even then we end up putting their clothes on for them and carrying them to the bathroom. This vacation thing is hard work. It was well worth the early rise to watch the sun rise over the plain with the trees in the back drop.
It really is cold in the morning so we do have to bundle up and hug our hot water bottles. 
Lily was smart enough to tuck all the cookies that came with the coffee in the morning into a napkin for an early morning nibble. We were all jealous of her great idea and luckily she shared.
Which way to go? We were still on the hunt for our elusive leopard. Our guide Geoffrey had been in touch with friends who are also guides/trackers in the park and they had given him intel that there had been leopard sightings in a certain area the previous evening.
En route to look for leopards we passed this herd of elephants drinking water in a dry river bed. They have to dig pretty deep to get a drink.

The baobab trees in this area were plentiful. This one was almost completely warn through by elephants. It would not last long before it was going to topple.

This morning Granny had opted to take a walking safari with a park ranger and our lodge owner Mark. They spent 2 hours walking near the base of the camp and looking closely at the plants, leaves, tracks etc. The guides both carried rifles and luckily they all arrived at the meeting spot in one piece. We grabbed Granny to finish our morning drive and headed off to have our breakfast and hear about her walkabout.
It was a new picnic spot for breakfast this morning again with lovely views and lots of shade. We sat on cute little tree stumps and tucked in.

I am not amused that the leopard eluded us once again and all before my breakfast and coffee.

After breakfast we headed out for more animal sighting. We had a real surprise when out in a field popped up three ostrich! We didn't even know there were ostrich in Tanzania. Geoffrey said when they are sleeping they roll up into a big ball and their feathers camouflage them so well you would think it is just a round black rock!
We sat in the truck a good while and observed them wander about. They made such a nice scene with the tree in the background.

This lovely giraffe stopped to pose for me as well.
The elephant just wander about. We followed this fellow down the road for a while.
We came across this little herd of ellie's and the baby just stole our hearts. We hung out taking their picture for a while and they were not impressed. The mama kept flapping her ears at us and the baby was copying her mama. It was the cutest thing. 

At the end as we were about to drive away they started to trumpet at us. I mean we were supposed to be intimidated but it was too cute.
Beside the baobab tree there is another very distinctive tree here called the candelabra tree. It is really more of a succulent.
This tree had a big bee hive in it with honey combs.

We spotted this gorgeous bird, the lilac breasted roller. It was so photogenic and sat posing for us.
After a busy morning seeing animals we heard from another vehicle from our lodge that the lions were back at the same den we had spotted them the previous days. We had a little time before lunch so we headed over to check it out. It was our big daddy male lion in the shade.
All the female lions were down in the river bed checking things out. Geoffrey took our car around some trees and off road down into the river bed to see what was going on.

A huge pride of lions with mature females and lots of cubs was down there.
Soon the big females were on the move to try to hunt. We circled back up to the top of the river bed to watch.

They crossed the river quietly and spread out on the other side of the bank.
There was a waterbuck  drinking in the shallow river bed. You can see the lion moving in closer so quietly while the other two lions circled around him. All hidden in the brush and the waterbuck had no idea!
RUN waterbuck RUN!!!
The two females stayed up out of sight while the one approached the waterbuck.
Suddenly the lion made her move and the chase was on!
The waterbuck headed for the water to try and lose the lion.
Big splashes! The other two lions joined the hunt and tried to trap the waterbuck.
Lots of running, chasing, and splashing and it looks like the waterbuck made the right move heading into the water. The lions were bogged down and  the waterbuck managed to get away.
We looped around and saw the lions panting and worn out heading out of the river to rest up in the shade.

We were worn out after that long hunt too! We returned to camp a little late for lunch and decided to go out for our last evening drive a little bit late to have time to rest. Our evening drive ended in another beautiful sunset. 
We couldn't have asked for a better experience. Well, maybe just one leopard but that is reason enough to return!

Nothing better than truck selfies with Geoffrey to end the night.

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