On a recent Safari we came across the following scene - a Martial Eagle had caught a Rock Monitor !!
It is well documented that Martial Eagles often prey on Rock Monitors, but what made this sighting so special was that it is only very seldomly seen. So for our guests (and ourselves) to see one on their safari outing was obviously very exciting.
Rock Monitors are, as they say, "tough as old boots", and very tenacious in defending themselves. They possess a long, whip-like tail that they can use to great effect in repelling an attacker. Monitors belong to the Family Varinidae and this very small family of about 46 living species, contains the world's largest lizards.
The Rock Monitor can reach up tp 2.5m, or 7.5ft which is indeed a huge meal for an Eagle.
The Martial Eagle has phenomenal eyesight and can spot its prey from a great distance. This allows them to attack from above using powerful talons to subdue the lizard and then its razor sharp beak to reach the underbelly of the Monitor.
The Rock Monitor will keep fighting until the bitter end, and in some cases the Martial Eagle gives up, but in this case the Monitor was small enough to be overcome and was eventually exhausted from the fight.
It was a long battle and fiercely fought on both sides, but the magnificent raptor came out, literally, on top!
Please visit our website under http://www.vuyanilodge.com/ to see all other animals that we see regularly on our game reserve!
On Friday we set out on our daily afternoon safari game drive, which started off very pleasantly, with sightings of Zebra, Giraffe, Nyala, Kudu and many more plains game. The wind then picked up a little bit, which is typical for this time of year and, unfortunately, the drive became a little quieter. We did however see lots of birds, which pleased the ornithologists among us. Warren and I then decided that we would go up to one of the lakes to have sundowners.
Just before sunset we got to a lake, but we quickly realised that the elephants had beaten us there. They were just walking down the bank towards the water to get a drink, so we viewed them from a distance for a while. We then moved off to the other side of the lake to give them space to drink in peace.
Warren and I made the tea, coffee and hot chocolate for the guests’ sundowners, as it is a little chillier this time of year, and we all stood around the vehicle enjoying our drinks while watching the elephants put on a show. They drank water, played, and the youngsters were even fooling around by spraying each other with water. So the delay in having our sundowners was truly worth it!
Over and Out from
Warren and Arran
Spring is in the air, the cold winter mornings are behind us, and even the evenings are warmer. All the animals, and us mere humans, are enjoying the warmer weather. That's why safari holidays are so popular at this time of year: The beautiful South African spring sets in as Europe and America go into autumn.
Along with the changing weather comes a rejuvenation off all that surrounds us. All the animals are getting close to having their young.
This brings me to one of those very special moments on Safari. We have been discussing the Wild dogs lately, or more to the fact the lack of the Wild dogs. We've not seen them for almost three months and we hoped that they were denning somewhere on the game reserve. We've been speculating that if they had indeed been denning, that if all goes well, we should start seeing them some time in spring.
So back to the Safari in question, Friday 2nd September 2011! Arran and Warren were out on Safari having a great time with their guests. They'd already stopped for Sun downers enjoying another beautiful African sunset.
They were all very upbeat and slowly making there way back to Vuyani Safari Lodge. As they rounded a corner their spotlight caught a Wild dog in its beam. Pandemonium set in, everyone got very excited. They had spoken about the Wild dogs shortly before, over sun downers. To now actually see one was even more exciting!
It wasn't over yet though. As the tracker panned the light to the left, there were lots of little eyes. PUPPIES and there were eight of them with three adult dogs with them. How fantastic, we were all over the moon. Being night time we didn't really want to view them under spotlight as it can cause temporary blindness.
Back to Vuyani we went to enjoy dinner, all excited and hoping to see the Wild dog puppies again the next morning.
And we did. We've been seeing them almost every day since then on our safari drives. We are most definitely being spoilt right now.
Keep reading about the Wild dogs, I'll be posting the history about where they came from and their story until now.