A Mashatu game drive

This is the last post from our recent trip to Mashatu in mid-September. As on a game drive it is better to talk less and look more. I have chosen to follow that wisdom on this photographic game drive. The images I have included were  taken on our game drives and show the variety of wildlife you are likely to encounter.

A Brown-headed Kingfisher looking down at the Lions lying on the sand bank of the Majale river.

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There are not many places you will regularly see Meyer’s Parrots – you will in Mashatu and you will often hear their distinctive screeches.

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This adult Meyers Parrot shows its blues.

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This Blue Waxbill had come to drink at a small water pool close to the lodge

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A Yellow-billed Hornbill was pecking at old Elephant dug looking for insects. It stopped to scratch its eyelid. It looked worse than it was – its eye was still intact.

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A family herd of Elephant calmly walked passed us.

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Early morning silhouette of a young Kudu bull.

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This young Eland bull’s dewlap was still under developed. The deep scratches on his neck look like he has already tangled with Lions.

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This male was one of a coalition of two. He was hanging around because of the females on the other side of the river.

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Lounging in the shade on the bough of a giant Mashatu tree. 

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Poking her head through a small fork in a Mashatu tree. This young Leopard looked wide awake after her day’s slumber.

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 Young Giraffe taking on a tree his own size.

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 A pair of Klipspringers crossed the Majale river in the late afternoon.

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Feeling exposed this Klipspringer turns around and dashes for the rocks on the other side of the riverbed.

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A male Cheetah, one of a coalition of three resting in the shade one hot afternoon. Everyone knows that a Cheetah’s claws, like a dog, do not retract. I never realised that a Cheetah has a flat tail which acts as a rudder. The flat tail is clearly visible in the next image.

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This female Cheetah was watching her four remaining cubs cavorting around in the late afternoon light.

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A year ago I posted an image of this Hyaena who looked badly mauled. He had his ears torn off and his left back foot had been bitten off. He looked in a bad way. Still on his own he has survived. It is remarkable that without any help his wounds healed. I have no idea what happened to push him out of the clan but his will to survive is irrepressible.

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On our way back for breakfast we found this matriarch sitting in the remaining water of a shallow dam.

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One of the matriarch’s pups was having fun playing in the water.

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I was not sure whether this female was winching at her youngster suckling too hard or whether this was a clan greeting.

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Male White-bellied Sunbird had come down to drink

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Male Green-winged Pytilia.

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This female Green-winged Pytilia was also thirsty.

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A Jameson’s Firefinch joined the drinking party.

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The Carmine Bee-eaters had not yet arrived but there were still gorgeous residents all around, like this Little Bee-eater.

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Another beautiful resident, a White fronted Bee-eater on the river bed feeding on small white butterflies in the late afternoon.

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A Rock Monitor scouring the dry river bed for something to eat.

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Male Baboon, back lit in the sinking afternoon light.

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This mother was unfazed when a teenager tried to take her baby. She just held on more tightly.

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This baby Baboon was allowed to play once the larger, rougher teenagers had wandered off.

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A flock of Red-billed Queleas – a small murmuration!

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A skittish Tree Squirrel comes down to drink.

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There is a stretch of the Majale river which seems to be the hunting territory of a pair of African Hawk Eagles. These aggressive hunters would not let us get close.

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This male Warthog was accompanied by a pair of Wattled Starlings who were catching all the insects that his lordship stirred up.

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A Burchell’s Coucal foraging down near the Cheetah family.

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Late in the afternoon, the time of long shadows, we found this Black-backed Jackal lying in the shade of  a Shepherd Tree.

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This short BBC video, narrated by David Attenborough, captures the way I feel after having spent five wonderful days in Mashatu. Double click on the image to play the video.

david attenborough

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and then let it be.

Have fun

Mike

2 thoughts on “A Mashatu game drive

  1. These bring back wonderful memories of our vist to Mashatu last year. Although I don’t expect to see such a great variety of birds or wildlife, my wife and I are off to Madikwi this coming weekend. Looking forward to both early morning and late afternoon game drives.

    Keith Smith

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