Jill's African Adventure
* A Day by the River
* Practical Stuff (But please read!)
* The Elephants Don't Want Me to Eat
* Its a Small World (Blantyre and Beyond)
* The Night Bus: From Nkhata Bay to Zomba
* Lake Malawi
* Reflections on East Africa
* The Long Road to Malawi: Part 2
* The Long Road to Malawi: Part 1
* Parc National des Volcans
* Kibale Forest
* Back and Forth from Kampala
* Rafting the Nile
* Murchison Falls
* A Day in The Life
* Hell's Gate
* Nairobi and Around (Part 2)
* Nairobi and Around (Part 1)
August 26, 2005
A Day by the River
As I mentioned in my entry about South Luangua Park, I spent one day just sitting by the river, watching what happened. While I was watching I took notes on it all -- way too many to type them all up here, but below are my notes from the morning, the most eventful part of the day. (I am typing this as I wrote it -- I don't have time for much editing and it really could use a lot. Consider yourselves warned.) First though, the setting:
I watched a stretch of river while sitting in a chair, just to the right of a tree. Behind me were trees and safari tents. Camp was to my left and behind me. To my right immediately was camp, then tall grasses near the river, then trees. On my side of the river there was a wide fat, sandy shore, then a steep embankment of a few meters, a flast area covered in yellow-green grasses, then a small embankment of a meter or two which is where I was sitting.
On the other side of the river was a steep embankment of about 3-elephant heights or so. (I'm really bad at estimating heights and distances...) On top of the embankment were yellow grasses right on the edge with trees and shrubs behind. One area, which I though of as the beach, had a slightly gentler slope than the rest of the embankment and was sandier at top than the other areas -- the vegetation didn't start until slightly further from the edge. (This is most likely due to the fact that it is an elephant crossing point and gets trampled a lot.)
5:50am It is a bit after first light when I finally get my chair set up by the river. Behind me and to the right the sky is pink right ablove the tree line, fading into golden then blue-gray. To the left, southwest, simply blue-gray. I hear three different types of birds singing. As I scan along the river, right to left, this is what i see: There are three groups of hippos. One to the right, a few individuals on the banks, some in the water. Almost in front of me, another group of at least ten on the shore, two in the water and three up the embankment. A little to the left is a sub-roup of at least nine in the water. One is climbing up the embankment. Just to the right of the hippos on the embankment is a group of about twenty impala eating. They are spread out along the edge of the embankment and seem to be moving left, maybe spread over 50m or so.
(6:05) The hippo that was going up the embankment is now going back into the water, making a slight splashing noise. Some members of the group to the right are making grunting noises. The third goup, to the far left, probably has about thirty individuals, about two-thirds on the shore, one-third in the water. They are ;now grunting. Most of the hippos in all groups are sleeping. A couple are swimming. Just off to my left there are about a half dozen of two types of black and white birds wading in the water.
(6:15) A large white bird is flying from right to left over the rivere. There are some unidentifiable birds fluttering about. A few, including a couple of autumn-colored egyptian geese are walking on the near shore. Most of the impala have wandered from the edge of the embankment, I can only see about five. I hear splashing. Four elephants have wandered quietly into camp and enter the river single file, two adults with two babies in between. They pause, bunch up. They are followed in at some distance by a hippo. The elephants continue on, the hippo trailing behind. One impala, then another run across, leaping on the far embankment. The elephants leave the river and walk up the embankment, the adults in front and behind. The hippo has joined his group. An impala streaks back in the other direction, a few more wanter in the same direction, to the right. The elephants are striped, light gray on top where they are dry, dark gray on the bottom where they are wet. The elephants move off to the left and disappear into the bush. Some impala are feeding near where the elephants went into the bush. Some are walking to the right. Hippos are spashing.
6:30 Seven guinea fowls and two geese are walking/wading/feeding on this side of the river. They are joined by more guinea fowl. Birds are flying and calling on both sides of the shore. A bunch of guinea fowl fly across to the far side of the river. The impala have gone into the bush. The hippos are sleeping. Birds are flying. The sun is making the river and embankment to the left of me golden.
Posted by Jillian on August 26, 2005 09:47 AM
Category: Southern Africa
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