NAME: James Kydd
DIARY ENTRIES: 61
PHOTOS UPLOADED: 91
VIDEOS UPLOADED: 33
CURRENT COMPANY: Ranger Diaries
Three highlights stood out amongst an outstanding day. The first was spending the morning sitting with a family of suricates (meerkats) as they woke and rose from their burrow. They were totally habituated to the presence of humans and went about the day's preparations around us as if we weren't there.
The second was finding Tswalu's Southern pride feasting on an enormous Eland bull. We arrived just in time to watch the three females and nine youngsters move from the shade to compete over the best bits of the carcass. As with all but one of sightings during our four night stay, we were the only vehicle there and had the sighting all to ourselves.
The third was sitting at a waterhole (although the picture won't do it justice) watching three of the most beautiful finches in the world: the green-winged pytillia, the black-faced waxbill and the violet-eared waxbill drinking together from the same perch, not to mention the yellow canaries and golden-breasted buntings.
We were treated to a picnic in the middle of the wilderness. A yellow mongoose busied itself in the shade while ground squirrels with their umbrella tails we able to spend more time foraging in the open. Steenbok, blue wildebeest and Red Hartebeest all made a welcome appearance. Every day we were surrounded by more signs of spring: the first emergence of a leopard tortoise from his winter lair underground. We accidentally flushed an ostrich from her nest as we drove past, and she put on an elaborate distraction display, pretending to have a broken wing to lead any potential predators away from her nest. And the delicious honey scent of the black thorn blossoms perforated the air.
(on tour with Indri Ultimate Mammal Voyages: Cape wildlife and wildflowers tour)