You can always find me in the kitchen at parties? PERHAPS. But you WILL always find me in an subterranean photographic hide, if there is one at a lodge.
Both the staff and my wife knew where to find me from early morning until late at night. I did leave for meals, toilet breaks and the occasional game drive, but for the rest of my visit, this was my office. (photo by Carolyn Fedler Batzofin)
I spent the majority of my time in this corner of the hide as the animals came to me and I did not even have to leave the comfort of my chair to find them.
In an unusual move, I chose to skip game drives and focus (pun intended) on spending as much time here as I could.
The common thread in this post is that I chose to concentrate on drinking wildlife and birds, not quite as simple as it might seem.
The USP of The Last Word Madikwe Bush House is most definitely their photographic hide that overlooks a waterhole that can be found at the edge of the garden, directly in front of the main building.
It was never empty although over the duration of my stay I came to realize that the variety of bird and wildlife coming to drink or bathe did seem to favour a particular time of day.
Early morning it was the turn of at least a dozen bird species, which took advantage of the quiet before the large game arrived.
This Cape Glossy Starling was certainly enjoying its early morning ablutions.
Did you know? The plumage of an adult starling is a uniform bright, glossy colour. The head is blue with darker ear coverts and the upper parts of the body are greenish-blue.
Guests are amazed at just how large an African elephant is. Especially when you are sitting at ground level to their feet.
I had been told that the elephants were aware when their occupants in the hide and they often took ‘pleasure’ in spraying the occupants and camera equipment with water and mud as they drank.
I was to found out that fact first hand when it happened to me. Luckily I had noticed one particular elephant’s behaviour and had stowed my cameras safely out of the line of fire. I was not so lucky and took the brunt of a trunk full of water on the side of my face and shoulder.
It is said that a wildebeest is an animal designed by a committee.
It is comprised the horns of a buffalo, the sloping back of a hyena, the stripes of a zebra, the tail of a horse and the brain of a guinea fowl.
This frenzy occurred when one of the herd that came to drink at the waterhole lost its footing and slipped into the water. The chaos that ensured would lead guests to believe that the animals were being attacked by a crocodile. But there are NO crocs in this waterhole.
Did you know that an elephant can slurp up 5.5 liters of water at a time?
They can also suck up 3 liters per second which is 30 times faster than a human sneeze!
The trunk is the most sensitive part of the pachyderm and consists of eight major muscles on either side and 150,000 muscle bundles in all. By comparison, the entire human body has only 600…
Can you do what a kudu can do? Despite their large size, kudu are accomplished jumpers. They are super agile and can easily jump a height of 2 meters; when stressed they are known to jump as high as 3.5 meters!
The kudu derived its name directly from the Khoikhoi, and folk lore has it that the name is descriptive of the sound the animal’s hooves makes as it strides away from a predator or danger.
Even at this angle, it seems that this buffalo was looking at me as if I owed it money.
Did you know? Buffalo need to drink about 130 to 150 liters of water per day.
One of my favourite animals to photograph and sitting in the hide for several hours at a stretch gave me the opportunity to do just that.
FYI…to answer the age old question, they are actually black with white stripes. Also they will drink approximately 14 liters of water per day to meet their physiological requirements but will drink an average of 21 liters at a time.
This littel piggy was NOT going to market. In fact he was not going too far away from the waterhole. There was an entire family that seemed to take up residence close by and visited the waterhole at various times during the day.
The clash of the titans? Two of the Big 5 square off at the waterhole. This encounter ended 1-0 to the elephant.
Elephants do NOT like to share a waterhole and will actively chase away other animals no matter how big or how small the species is.
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