June 8: It’s a Kalahari Moose

I had a good feeling about today before I even set off on the long journey north.

Less than an hour into the drive, I met a lone Spotted Hyena walking by a waterhole. I don’t get to see Spotted Hyenas very often, so every sighting is a big deal.

Chasing after the hyena was a puffed up wildebeest pretending to be brave. His snorts seemed to shout, “yeah you’d better run!” although I got the impression that if the hyena had turned around, the wildebeest would have gone home in a hurry.

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Spotted Hyena. Love.

Further down the riverbed, at another good wildebeest sighting, it dawned on me that wildebeest are the mooses of the Kalahari. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. There’s just something about them that screams ‘MOOSE!’ at me. Of course though, a wildebeest lacks the poise and true elegance of a moose.

Another reason why wildebeest can’t be true mooses, is because they haven’t got antlers. In Africa, we have antelopes and antelopes have horns. In North America, they have deers (even if one of their deers is erroneously called an ‘antelope’ *cough*pronghorn*cough*) and deers have all got antlers. Deers get the better deal. Each season a deer sheds its horns and grows new ones. Antelopes only ever get one set. If a Springbok isn’t happy with the shape of his horns, then tough luck. If a Gemsbok loses a horn, it’s a unicorn forever and will probably be mocked by its peers.

I also came across a mother Ostrich with 27 teenagers in tow. Even though Ostriches lay a lot of eggs, they’re probably not all hers. In every little group of Ostriches, all the girls lay their eggs in the same nest. The dominant female gets to put hers in the middle and the plebby females lay their eggs around the outside. So you can guess whose are more likely to hatch…

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Way too many teenagers.

What struck me most about the drive up this morning was the clouds. We don’t see clouds much. And the clouds were a nice distraction from the road itself, which choose to be rather arduous today. Clouds look good on the Kalahari. It should wear them more often.

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Clouds. Don’t they look good?

I arrived at camp just in time to watch the Kalahari Mooses make their midday attempt at drinking from the waterhole. It’s good to be back. Love.

Sightings:

Spotted Hyena
Gemsbok
Springbok
Wildebeest
Red Hartebeest
Ostrich
Black Chested Snake Eagle
Black Headed Heron
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Tawny Eagle
Unidentified Harrier
Gabar Goshawk
Greater Kestrel
Rock Kestrel
Secretary Bird
Kori Bustard
Northern Black Korhaan

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