Saturday was such a special day with our personally guided tour of Mpongo Game Reserve. Annie, daughter of Mirijam here in EL, was home for the weekend from her internship as a game ranger at Tyityaba Game Reserve. We spent four delightful hours being driven around in our own vehicle informed by a knowledgeable friend who loves the animals.
Mpongo is only 30 minutes outside of EL. According to the brochure, “The reserve takes its name from the Umpongo River, which features prominently in Xhosa history. Legend says that Nonkosi, who was one of the instigators of the ‘national suicide’ of the Xhosa Nation, lived in the area, and relics of her kraal are found in the reserve.” The reserve covers 3500 ha (8,650 acres) with an abundance of game and birdlife.
Because I had so many photos of the Blesbok from Inkwenkwezi, I took very few of them here, although they are abundant. I also took only a couple of the lionesses because they were in a fairly small enclosure, and I have so many from Inkwenkwezi. But there were plenty of new animals to photograph.
Beautiful lionessAnd then off on the road for our game drive over 3500 ha of open space. It’s one of the best parts of being on a reserve. Something primal gets engaged out in such vastness.Brown-hooded KingfisherCrowned HornbillImpala enjoying the grass. Annie commented that it is very dry this year. It normally rains in the summer here, and the fields turn green.
The Giraffes are a favorite. These are an adult male and female in front (hiding) and their two offspring in the back.The big papa.Papa taking junior to safety.His hide looks silky soft in the sunlight.
We wondered why this Zebra and an Eland were hanging out together and then realized that they are both pregnant.This Eland, as with some other antelope, somehow look out of proportion. Her body looks a bit like that of
a Brahma bull.Mid-day and all is quiet. The Eland is eating/hiding in the thicket while the Blesbok rest.This beauty is an old Nyala. Again, his head seems disproportionately small compared to his massive body.Warthog family
It took a while to identify her, but this is a juvenile African Crowned Eagle, at 60 cm (24 in).She was crying most of the time even though we were at quite a distance, and she was well hidden.In this last shot, I noticed what looked like a wound on her front-side. Can’t imagine what else it could be.
When we finished the 4-hour drive, we enjoyed the petting zoo before having lunch.Guess what?These Vervet Monkeys are my favorite. People actually used to call them Blue Balls for good reason.The old boy.We got into the dining room before the crowd and enjoyed a nice lunch to end our very satisfying day.