On my way to the photographic hide, I stopped to watch this Southern Red-billed Hornbill as it enjoyed a breakfast snack.
Hornbills seem to know that lodges DO offer the proverbial ‘free’ meal, and they make the most of that at every opportunity. They have even been known to hop into the rooms of unsuspecting guests in search of something easily edible.
Once ensconced here, this became my office for as long as I was prepared to sit quietly and enjoy the parade of wildlife that came to drink during my sojourn in the hide.
Although plains game came regularly, it was when the elephants arrived that really excited me.
Sitting this close to the largest land mammal on the planet is a truly humbling experience.
Obviously I could see them and I know from certain of their behaviors that could sense my presence.
“When elephants fight, it is the Earth that suffers”… African proverb
It seemed fortuitous that this image reminded me of this African tale:
Long ago, on the vast African plains, a small klipspringer named Thlambile lived among the rocky outcrops. Thlambile was known for her agility and ability to leap effortlessly from boulder to boulder, so surefooted that she almost seemed to defy gravity. Her nimble movements brought joy to the creatures of the land.
One scorching day, Thlambile spotted Ezinkulu the elephant in the distance. The majestic creature had lost his way and was weary from the heat. Sensing its distress, Thlambile swiftly darted towards him, guiding him to a nearby watering hole.
Grateful for Thlambile’s assistance, Ezinkulu showered her with kindness and protection. Whenever predators lurked, it would use his great strength to shield Thlambile from harm. In return, Thlambile would alert the elephant of impending dangers, using her sharp eyes to spot hidden threats.
Time passed and as their bond deepened their partnership became crucial for the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Thlambile would nibble on the leaves of trees, aiding in pruning and promoting new growth. Ezinkulu’s mighty footsteps cleared pathways for smaller animals, forging a safe passage through dense thickets.
Their harmonious relationship taught others the importance of cooperation and interdependence. The klipspringer and the elephant became symbols of unity and environmental stewardship. Their unique traits, when combined, created a resilient alliance that nurtured the land and its inhabitants.
Now when the wind whispers through the rocks, it is said that Thlambile’s spirit dances on the highest cliffs, while Ezinkulu roams the plains, their friendship a testament to the interconnections of all living beings.
One my favourite of the smaller bird species…the Blue Waxbill…enjoying an early morning splash before the larger mammals took over.
A squadron of waxbills takes flight…
A time for reflection?
Unlike humans that are in a constant state of stress, it seems that prey species, like impala, just go about their day not worrying about the possibility of being a meal.
If you could do what a Kudu could do, what would it be that you could do?
I have not seen an impala kneel to drink before, hence this image has ‘made it’ into this posting.
A zebra quenches its thirst…
As does this Bunting…
Why is it that buffalo ALWAYS look at you as if you owe them money?
And this one seems to be no different.
Just when I was about to pack up my gear and leave the hide, yet another herd of buffalo arrived.
As the sun set, I heard the siren call of dinner and I knew that it was time to retrace my steps to the lodge.
One last look around the hide to make certain that I had left nothing behind.
I would be returning in the morning.
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