The Savanna Doesn’t Stop for the Rain

The savanna is a dangerous place, with life hanging in a precarious balance far too often. We saw that twice today.

In the morning, I woke to the sound of rain on my tent. Yes – Butterblogger is once again staying in a tent. To be fair it has a permanent foundation, wooden floor, and indoor plumbing, as well as twin beds.

It’s a very nice tent, but it has a canvas roof and screens for most of the walls, so it is most definitely a tent.

The canvas roof was rather loud as the sound of a downpour woke me this morning. After a quick breakfast I met Sammy for the morning game drive. The rains seemed to be relenting for a bit as we pulled away from the secure warmth of the lodge, but this was not to be.

The pathways of the national park were muddy, and the rivers we drove through were overflowing.

As unpleasant as the weather was, this ostrich was unfazed.

And these giraffes continued to graze.

We bounced around the pathways and crossed a torrential river. Suddenly Sammy pulled the Land Cruiser sharply toward shore, announcing “there are elephants crossing!”

He was right – they were amassed on the other side, and would periodically wade in as though engaged in some fervid discussion of whether it was the right time to cross.

The river raged wildly, and some elephants were pushing others. To my untrained eye, this was not a time to cross.

Some elephants were clearly scolding others while others walked away.

We watched for 25 minutes and the elephants seemed to be stepping away from the bank. I was relieved at this turn of events, and we continued on our way.

We continued to find new creatures, including this gerenuk, also known as a giraffe gazelle because of her long neck.

And when the rain stopped three warthogs found us. Sammy calls all warthogs “pumba.” I find them cute and I appreciate this naming.

We spent much of the afternoon in search of elusive leopards, which meant we didn’t see a lot of animals. Other animals mostly know to get away when leopards are around.

We didn’t find leopards, but these elephants were absolutely surreal.

When we were about to wrap up the day, we received news that the lionesses were hunting. We hurried over to pride rock (or whatever it’s called) and saw one lioness break away, her eyes fixed to the horizon.

Sammy informed me her vision is outstanding and she can see things kilometers away. So we have to look where she is gazing, and we will find something.

Eventually, a pumba jogged happily into view, headed directly toward pride rock. He appeared to be entirely unaware of the danger, bounding forward with seeming glee. The lionesses moved slowly in his direction.

He continued to bounce until he started to get close, and then he must have sensed something. He stopped.

And then he bolted to the left. It was over then – the lionesses just aren’t that fast. Sammy explained that they are strong and they are cunning, but lack the speed of leopards or cheetahs. So the hunt had ended without success.

The lionesses gave up to lounge a bit on the rock and look over their domain, always watching for the next prey to pass their way.

The savanna is a dangerous place, so we visitors are careful. It reminds me of a quote attributed to Jacques Cousteau. Reportedly he said, “When you enter the ocean you enter the food chain, and not necessarily at the top.” The savanna is similar in that way, so I’m glad to stay in my Land Cruiser.

As for the inhabitants here – the warthog knew his risk, and the elephants clearly knew theirs. Sadly, I later heard an elephant was seen floating in the river, and I worry it was one of ours.

But this is life on the savanna.

One thought on “The Savanna Doesn’t Stop for the Rain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s