SA Trip – Aug 8-10, 2014

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. IMG_1162We 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.

The Lodge at Mpongo

Our first encounter: IMG_1153Hippos with Terrapin (fresh water turtles) using them as a rock to sun themselves.IMG_5296IMG_4826IMG_5305IMG_4834  IMG_4862IMG_4852

They get along well with the Egyptian Geese.IMG_4861Egyptian Goose

Beautiful lionessLionessIMG_4883And 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.IMG_2148Brown-hooded KingfisherBrown-hooded KingfisherBrown-hooded KingfisherBrown-hooded KingfisherCrowned HornbillCrowned 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.ImpalaImpalaIMG_5221

Juvenile Impala, so curious.Young ImpalaPlenty of Blesbok.IMG_4940BlesbokWaterbuck. Someone commented that it looks like he sat on a freshly painted toilet seat. WaterbuckWaterbuck

The Giraffes are a favorite.  These are an adult male and female in front (hiding) and their two offspring in the back.IMG_2160The big papa.IMG_5111Papa taking junior to safety.IMG_5127His hide looks silky soft in the sunlight.IMG_2174Momma Giraffe

A small herd of ZebraIMG_5228

We wondered why this Zebra and an Eland were hanging out together and then realized that they are both pregnant.IMG_5050IMG_5039This Eland, as with some other antelope, somehow look out of proportion. Her body looks a bit like that of

a Brahma bull.IMG_5048IMG_5045Mid-day and all is quiet.  The Eland is eating/hiding in the thicket while the Blesbok rest.IMG_5229This beauty is an old Nyala.  Again, his head seems disproportionately small compared to his massive body.Nyala BuckNyala BuckNyala BuckWarthog familyIMG_5232IMG_5234IMG_5223


It took a while to identify her, but this is a juvenile African Crowned Eagle, at 60 cm (24 in).IMG_5155She was crying most of the time even though we were at quite a distance, and she was well hidden.IMG_5191IMG_5200In 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.IMG_5290Guess what?IMG_5288These Vervet Monkeys are my favorite.  People actually used to call them Blue Balls for good reason.IMG_5248IMG_5250IMG_5255IMG_5266The old boy.IMG_5257We got into the dining room before the crowd and enjoyed a nice lunch to end our very satisfying day.IMG_1181

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4 Responses to SA Trip – Aug 8-10, 2014

  1. Selina Heaton says:

    Fabulous pictures!! I see a great Shutterfly animal book in there (and previous posts) for Gavin!!


  2. Michael says:

    I love the Giraffe, he looks like ‘what do you do here, it’s my place.’


  3. pluciaphoto says:

    Wow, just wow! Love the zebra (rear view, looking at you~)


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