The story of a rock kopje in the northern Serengeti, and daily life in the Serengeti's best new camp hidden within it.
Sun, Oct 19, 2014
The grasses of Bologonja are green and lush this year.
But even in these great, wide open spaces - there are suprises behind the termite mounds.
"Ho hum, Zebra, Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala.......hold up whats that??"
"Double take time....maybe a Topi?"
"No too skinny"
"Perhaps it's one of those Oribis we keep hearing about....."
"Can't be! This girl's covered in spots"
"Holy smokes that's a Cheetah!!"
"Next time, you won't get the head start!!"
"Quit chasing baboons and lets move on!"
"I've heard the Kopjes are splendid this time of year - let's try that big one over there."
Sun, Oct 12, 2014
I'm quite certain that every safari camp manager has, at some stage, rued the day they ever decided to share a home with the cunning Vervet Monkey.
The first head guide we worked under (down in SA) had his mobile phone stolen from the breakfast table at our lodge. The little wind-up merchant looked down at said guide, while chewing his prized possession, before eventually losing interest in its flavour he proceded to release it straight down into a pond. As you can well imagine the gesticulating and cursing that punctuated this particular interaction can't really be repeated on this blog.
It is very difficult to keep primates wild, particularly when they are surrounded by lodges and guests. We go to great lengths to discourage them as should all people visiting Africa's wild places - PLEASE DON"T EVER FEED THE MONKEYS CHAPS!!
They are hugely entertaining when you take the time to watch them - there are some new babies in the troop near us this season and we got some lovely shots of them on the rocks last week.
Sun, Sep 28, 2014
There is nothing better for a host of hevies in the miday sun.
An adult African Elephant can drink 200 liters of water in a day, occasionally in one single visit! Each trunkful can send up to eight liters rushing into the thirsty creature which is more than your average "bucket challenge"!!
It's wonderful to watch them arrive at the river, you can see their pace quicken as they near the water and tell by their body language how happy they are to get there, especially the little ones!!
Sat, Sep 6, 2014
Honestly, the kopje filled area surrounding our lodge has to be one of the best places in the world to view wild lions. Yesterday evening guests came back chirping away about the cubs tackling each other as the whole local lion team passed by, twenty seven individuals counted!! The territory is a valuable one which in turn means we are treated to a chorus of long distance lion calls almost every night.
Here are some of the seasons favourite shots of the Lamai Pride, with thanks to Roger Bender, Morton Rawlin and of course our own Jana Arnhold for these splendid pictures.
The boys in charge, a coalition.
"Ladies who lunch", there are seven adult females that put the lion's share on the table around here and that is a lot of hungry mouths to feed!!
One of the sub adult males, full to bursting with wildebeest!
The little chaps above as we first met them snoozing out on the rocks and then again below, the whole pile of Panthera doing what cats do best. Look at how they have grown!!
Tue, Aug 26, 2014
Came the excited cries from Jana and Yassin (second chef and trainee guide).
They led me by the arms down to the mess area, chattering like excited vervet monkeys, only to stand perplexed - looking up at the Small Sour Plum that makes an archway over the steps at the bottom: "hmm in hindsight we should have found a different spot to leave him!"
It took a while but eventually we relocated this Giant East African Stick Insect.....Can you find him?
Not quite so well camoflauged on Jana's top - he still walks with a cryptic jerky movement to help immitate the twigs that normally surround him, much the same as a chameleon.
Here you can see his forelegs held out in front of his head - making him all the more sticky.
Did you know....?
Stick insects can shed and then re-grow their limbs to escape attacks by predators - this behaviour is called autotomy.
Stick insects can reproduce "parthenogenetically" - without the need for males!! (Sorry chaps, although young born through this method will all be female so you're not completely redundant and if you look on the bright side it must mean you are significantly outnumbered by the opposite sex - gotta love those odds fellas!!)
Stick insect eggs resemble seeds so they will blend into the forest floor to escape predation.
In the pictures above you can see what I think is a light sensitive organ called an "Ocellus" or "little eye". Many flying insects have these in various forms, they co-exist with the compound eyes on either side and are a second, completely seperate visual organ. In stick insects it is only the males that have these.
Our man Yassin - happy to break up the day with a spot of entomology.
Doing the crazy "Jurassic Park" thing and suddenly revealing his fantastic wings (only boys have wings, se he is definately a he!!) increased mobility and a startle/distraction display.
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