In 1998 I attended a
Living Lakes conference at St. Lucia Lake. For a couple of days I would get up at 5 every morning and walk a short trail to the lake shore before breakfast and the daily meetings. We spent just one day on a field trip. I am still amazed about the abundance of wildlife we encountered in basically just a few hours. I share some of it here.
My point is: If you are at a foreign place and have only a few hours to kill, don’t say „It’s not enough time“ or „It doesn’t pay“. Just do it. There is always something to explore – especially when it comes to wildlife.
Sunrise at St. Lucia Lake, Africa’s largest estuarine lake. We were told that the lake harbours crocodiles as well as sharks.
Right in camp we had this group of Vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) – Südliche Grünmeerkatze
The Vervet very much resembles the Gray Langur, having a black face with a white fringe of hair, while its overall hair colour is mostly grizzled-grey.
This is the entrance to the lake trail. Very promising …
At the end of the path, the area fans out into a wider strip along the shore. I follow a hippopotamus trail and feel safe behind it. I can’t imagine that there could be a hippo to the right of the trail. But that’s exactly how it is. Suddenly I hear something big breaking through the swamp. I take my feet into my hands and eventually look back. And there it is …
… my first hippo. Hippopotamus ( Hippopotamus amphibius) – Flusspferd. Once it reaches the water, we can both relax. … Which animals were depicted on that warning sign? …
It takes several minutes before the hippo is submerged in the shallow waters.
Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) – Dorfweber. I think it is this species.
Interesting sediments along the lake shore on the way back to camp
Trumpeter Hornbill ( Bycanistes bucinator) – Trompeterhornvogel. The hornbills (Bucerotidae) are one of my favorite bird families.
Pied Kingfisher ( Ceryle rudis) – Graufischer. Widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Originally described by Linnaeus in 1758.
The Indian Ocean near St. Lucia Lake
A mantis on a funky plant at the beach
African Fish Eagle ( Haliaeetus vocifer) Schreiseeadler
Somewhere in Maputaland. We also visit the Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Nyala ( Tragelaphus angasii), female
Nyala ( Tragelaphus angasii). A young male still resembling an adult female.
… what a makeup!
Later it turns into one of these: adult male Nyala. You could almost call it a metamorphosis.
Common Warthog ( Phacochoerus africanus) – Warzenschwein
Common Impala ( Aepyceros melampus) – Impala
Hamerkop ( Scopus umbretta) – Hammerkopf. Another great bird: It is the only living species in the family Scopidae.
White Rhinoceros ( Ceratotherium simum) – Breitmaulnashorn
White Rhino youngster
… a truly fantastic beast
Can’t get enough: one more
Plains Zebra ( Equus quagga) – Steppenzebra. Going by the arrangement of the „shadow“ stripes, this should be the subspecies antiquorum. But according to „The Handbook of the Mammals of the World“ antiquorum occurs only in Angola, Namibia, and West Botswana … mmh! … Nevertheless: They are just magnificent!
Zambesi Kudu (Strepsiceros strepsiceros) – Sambesi-Großkudu
Black-bellied Bustard ( Lissotis melanogaster) – Schwarzbauchtrappe
Blue Wildebeest ( Connochaetes taurinus) – Streifengnu. And two Impalas
Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardis giraffa)
Natal Red Duiker ( Cephalophus natalensis) – Rotducker
Cape Bushbuck ( Tragelaphus sylvaticus) – Südliche Schirrantilope
Crested Guineafowl ( Guttera pucherani) – Kräuselhauben-Perlhuhn. What a funny bird! The German name makes it even funnier: „Curly Cap Pearl Chicken“
Somewhere in Maputaland. There would have been so much more to discover, if only I had had a few more hours: elephants, lions, African wild dogs, Cape buffalos, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, leopards … I have to come again.