In the dry season, the interior of Mana has no surface water, forcing animals who need to drink daily, onto the relatively small area near the river. The elephants here at Mana have learnt to get at the very top of trees in a novel way.
I came across this elephant, right next to the road and he showed me how!
First, he sort of sniffed at what he wanted to eat – waaaay up in the tree! He moved around a bit, obviously getting the right angle…
And then he stood up on his hind legs…
And pulled down the branch he wanted.
He munched on this for a while and then repeated the activity! He totally ignored me and I was able to watch him for an hour or so, and even got a few close-ups
This photo above was taken very early in the morning – that blue light filtering through the trees.
I went to Mana in October (it was a little later than I would have liked) so there is hardly any grazing around.
This photo (above) has the river in the background and look at the size of the tree!!!
I took the next few later in the day…
That hill in the background is Zambia.
A small stag herd under the canopy, the red sunset filtering through
I got to the long pool, early in the morning so this hippo was coming back from grazing. Hippo mostly spend the day in the water, grazing at night.
Looks as if she had been in the wars. The oxpecker isnt really helping her healing – I think he is actually picking open the wound on her side.
I decided to spend the day at the Long Pools – just watching the world coming and going.
Sitting there, I saw a bushbuck walk along the sand to get water:
Later, I went walking around this pool. Standing near a bank, a bush-buck just walked straight towards me – it was a magical experience – to be so close to a wild animal as beautiful as this one:
She looked right at me, and then just carried on walking, directly towards me!
The greatest thing at Mana Pools, for me, is that one can walk in the park. You have to get a permit and I also paid for a guide! That is not obligatory!
I’m not sure I breathed much while I took those! I was having to pull the zoom into the camera with each step she took
I took these photos while on my guided walk. I paid for an armed National Parks guide! Ok, I’m a woosie, so sue me!
The last pic here was taken at the pool very late in the evening…
Early morning on the Zambezi…
I woke up very early in the morning (after sharing my camp site with a herd of buffalo!) to this view:
The sounds begin very early – the birds, the early morning hippo grunts. I even heard a ground hornbill, but that was very early in the morning, maybe 3.00am?
I’m told that hippo yawn as a sign of aggression – well, I’m not sure why he felt threatened, but I kept my distance!
There are a lot of hippo in the Zambezi – I always marvel at people who paddle the river in canoes or kayaks – I have a healthy respect for hippo!
I’d paid for a night at this camping spot, so I took a drive down there to check it out – I didn’t want any surprises!
There wasn’t much going on – everyone seemed to be asleep!
This is taken at the mouth of one of the many streams that flow into the Zambezi River. In that opposite bank is a carmine bee-eater colony. They fly over, delighting with their awesome colours, and athletic manoeuvres. I don’t have a pic, I’m afraid, they moved too fast for me and my zoom wasn’t big enough to capture them as they come out of their nests.
I spent a lazy day here, just driving short distances from the camp site.
…watching as the light slowly faded and the heat dissipated somewhat.
I wanted to get myself all set up before dark.