Tswalu Day 4: the Sociable Weaver Nest

This diary entry took place at Tswalu

Another perfect day with another three highlights. The first was finding a lioness (North pride) and two youngsters after a morning of hard tracking by Christo and William. Again, we  had the sighting all to ourselves. Tswalu is the largest private reserve in South Africa, and while having a delicious lunch at the majestic Lekgaba viewpoint it felt like we could see the curvature of the earth's horizon. We were rewarded not only with a sighting of the Burchell's but also the rarer Hartmann's zebra: they were shy and disappeared into the Karroneberg.

Tswalu were darting a white rhino for notching and chipping and our second highlight of the day was being invited to join their conservation team and partake in the experience. It was an indescribable moment being able to get so close to such a powerful, prehistoric creature, and we all walked away from it feeling quite emotional.

We wanted to photograph a sociable weaver nest at sunset.  From a vantage point high on the mountains we found the perfect nest, and just before sunset walked out to our third highlight of the day, flushing a scrub hare along the way. The nest was massive, it must have weighed more than a tonne and was almost touching the ground where it had bent the shepard's tree over. It was the noise that was so captivating: hundreds of the little birds shooting in and out of the nest holes, their alien chattering and squabbling filling the air. And to top it off the first barking geckos of the spring emerged from their burrows and added their iconic voices to Kalahari dusk.

(while on the Cape Wildlife and Wildflowers Tour with Indri Ultimate Mammal Voyages)

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