(Not) the BIG FIVE

There’s a slight problem with going to South Africa and seeing animals.  You take far too many pictures (I estimate about 4000 between my DH and I) and then you have to sort them all out.  It’s a challenge.  I’m not quite finished yet and am a bit stuck on how to show them.  Do you just focus on the Big Five (Elephant, Rhino, Leopard, Lion, Buffalo) as that seems to be what a lot of people want to see or look at the more quirky animals that are not quite so deadly but still stunning to see?   Then how do you fit them into a sensible post …. I’ve got to about 60 pictures that I like for one reason or another but putting them all up at once would make a huge big confusing post that no-one would be interested in.

Well …. it’s going to be multiple posts and we’ll just see how we go.   To start with, we visited the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West of South Africa, just on the border with Botswana.  It’s not huge when compared to places like Kruger (about 1/3 size) but it is good in terms of access being managed, limited numbers on game drives and they look after the animal population so they don’t get crowded by the vehicles when there is a sighting (and it’s Malaria free).  We stayed at the Bush House lodge which is designed to be a home away from home.  Not too big (6 rooms), comfortable, excellent food and they look after you very very well.  So …some general images of our excellent guide Corine and the lodge owner Sue in the vehicle we spent hours in each day, a mix of sunrise and sunset (they’re the only landscape images I took) and just because it was quite so dinky, our transfer plane from Jo’burg to Madikwe.

General-5General-2General-4

General-3

I think to keep the suspense going, I need to follow this with some of the birds.  There are in excess of 300 species in the reserve and some of them are quite spectacular.  This is a small selection of those we spotted that caught my eye.  There were plenty more known as lbj’s (little brown job’s as there are lots of small brownish birds) and others I just failed miserably to photograph.  First up is an owl (exact species unknown) that surprised me as I was at the water hole one evening.

Birds-1

Then we have a guineafowl – there were lots of these and they were quite impressively stupid most of the time.  I’m not sure if you can see the colours so clearly on the starlings but they are the most amazing bright blue (although their bright orange eyes are quite freaky)

Birds-4  Birds-2

Swiftly moving on to the lilac breasted roller – absolutely amazing to watch and the colours are iridescent.  Just to show the opposite end of the scale, we then have the grey go away bird …. it’s grey and it’s call sounds like “go away”.  Imaginative.

Birds-8 Birds-7

Then we have the crimson breasted shrike and a vulture who just did not fancy posing for a photograph …. exit stage left.

Birds-5 Birds-6

And finally (of course), the set would not be complete without the yellow hornbill, also known as the banana bird or zazu!

Birds-3

This is getting a bit long …. more to follow later.

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