Conservation & environment

Stiegler’s Gorge…’ere be dragons!!

05 July 2013

It’s been said before but we’ll say it again; a morning expedition up the Rufiji River to Stiegler’s Gorge is a magnificent activity. Leaving at dawn - it feels like we’re heading out in search of the “blank spaces on the map” that all those explorer diaries have alluded to.

Rounding a bend, where we plan to switch off the motor and begin our silent drift downstream towards the lodge, we disturb this pile of crocodiles!

Seeing so many together certainly raises a few eye-brows in the boat – it’s a firm reminder that these creatures are far more social and complex than their reputation would have us believe.

As we continue downstream we spot this impressive adult, he was concealed when we passed him on the way up, quietly observing us from his basking place as we made our way upstream him by. Now in full view he took his time to slip silently into the water.

The crocodile is often described as an unchanged ancient creature harking back to the age of dinosaurs. This, however, doesn’t quite do the apex predator justice. It took a vast number of adaptations over 250 million years to reach this modern day river monster, to hear the taxonomist’s state that they are the closest living relatives to birds should surely reaffirm this!

None the less - the cool light of the gorge certainly adds to the prehistoric feel of these photographs.

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