Another early start for our third and last day on Rubondo as we embarked on a morning game drive. A chance first to catch the sunrise.
We had arranged for two vehicles to drive us around the island. We were in search of the exotic (Chimps, Elephant, Giraffe) all resident on the island.
Our first encounters were fleeting glimpses of waterbuck, roadside monkeys, the odd bird and loads of butterflies (elusive to photo as ever!). Then we came across a hippo grazing on land, not the first hippo we had seen but the closes we had been to one on dry land. Here it was, surrounded by swooping swallows, quite unperturbed by our presence.
Leaving the hippo we headed along overgrown roads in search of elephants, we got close and could hear them trumpeting close by, but never saw them, sadly.
We stopped by the coast and photographed the bird life before heading off in search of giraffe, all we saw was more bushbuck. At a small settlement we stopped once more and observed some tame bushbuck and marabou storks. The giraffes were up in the hills and were not going to be coming down.
As we approached the end of our drive we had seen hippos, monkeys, waterbuck, butterflies and birds but little else not even a Sitatunga. So a final diversion via the airport to glimpse the elusive antelope then home.
On arrival it was time to pack up and head out. We had had an enjoyable time on the island.
The boat trip was only an hour coming back and then we were on the road, passing pineapple plantations and bikes loaded with the fruits. On route we learned that the Busisi Ferry was now running, allowing us to drive tarmac from Geita to Mwanza. This shortened our journey time considerably. At the ferry port we passengers disembarked and our drivers waited with the cars. The way things work is that buses and lorries take priority over cars, such that our driver ( a colleague) had to wait back and catch the next ferry. Luckily the wait was not too long and we were soon back on the road to Mwanza, the end of a great three days away.
Day two of our trip to Rubondo started early as I woke in search of a good sunrise. The weather was a little cloudy with a distant storm across the lake and the sound of hippos in the bay.
One disappointment was the lack of birdlife – having been told Rubondo was a haven for birds we had seen few.
The day ahead was to consist of a morning walking safari followed by an afternoon boat safari. As Anita was a little under the weather she stayed behind, two of our part had gone fishing leaving 10 to head out into the jungle. In truth we saw little in the first hour or two, though the scenery was pleasant an there were plenty of butterflies and beetles. After a a couple of hours we reached a lookout with some great views over the lake and a nearby lagoon We stopped for rest and then proceeded down to the coast.as we travelled we were near deafened by the sound of cicadas chirping in the trees. We them emerged at the shoreline. Here was another lookout tower which gave a much closer look at the self-same lagoon we had seen earlier. Here open billed storks, egrets, ibis and other water birds gathered. Then in the lake we spotted them – crocodiles. Moving cautiously to get a closer look at the still distant reptiles we came to marshy ground. We watched for several minutes as one of the crocs hauled itself onto land and gaped. It was an enormous beast even from a distance.
As we turned to leave, we saw another creature feeding behind us in the long grass, a hippo. The round beast fed forces while and then spotted us between it and the water. We moved a little to one side and took some snaps , one amazing picture of the hippo looking straight ahead with a running bushbuck behind. The hippo turned back into the trees!
Our journey back to camp took us past an area of burned out boats (poacher boats which had been confiscated and then purposely damaged, their occupants presumably arrested and sent to court).
Returning to out base we discovered to put disappointment that the boat safari was cancelled due to rough water. A change of plan meant a relaxed afternoon and a decision to do a Game Drive in our last day.
After the hippos of the night before tonight we spotted the reflecting eyes of crocs in the bay. West by the fire and watched as one approached and from a distance came shore enticed by a fish head.
The crocodile at close quarters was awesome. It was still enough to get some good low exposure pics, but stealhily every 10 miins or so as torch light moved elsewhere it approached. Eventually fearing it was getting too close the reptile was warded off by fire and slunk back into the water.
Another early night for all as the Game Drive wass to be at the start of our last day
A submission to this week’s photo challenge Reward. Taken on the last day of our Safari in the Serengeti, after hours of looking a site of a leopard.