Pics from Pendjari 2007

9 09 2007

Our teammate Becky Reeves returned from a trip to the US this past week which means that I was finally able to see the pictures I took during our last 3 safaris — 2 at Pendjari in Benin and 1 at Masai Mara in Kenya. (Film processing here in Togo is not very good so I always wait to have my film developed back in the US. Maybe someday we’ll get one of those nice 35mm digital cameras…)

Anyways, I’d been anxious to see how the pictures turned out and I was happy to see some good ones. I’ve scanned a few of my favorites and I’ll be posting them throughout the week. (I’m also hoping to use some to change the header of the blog from time to time too.) Here are a couple of pictures I took in Pendjari – along with the stories behind them.

elephantpendj-medium-web-view.jpg

We saw these elephants at Mare Bali during a trip in mid January. Isaac, Graham and I went with David & Elijah Reeves and Brett Emerson. I think we later met this group while driving back to our campsite.

Another highlight of that trip was getting lost and having to drive around the park until 10pm – a big no-no. We stayed at Mare Bali until it was almost dark waiting to see the lion we heard roaring nearby would reveal itself. It didn’t. Since it was dark, we drove by the turn off for the park campsite, searched for it for about 2 hours and we eventually found to be abandoned. So we drove for another hour and camped at an unmanned guard post.

While it doesn’t sound like much of a ‘highlight’ it really was. We saw lots of animals which aren’t out during the normal park view hours including 1 cerval, 4 jackals and a crested porcupine. We also came across a big buffalo who looked like he was more lost than we were! I digress…

Here is a picture of the buffalo kill and 2 of the 4 lions we saw near it during our February trip to Penjdari with our teammates and friends from Tabligbo. The kill was maybe 20 yards off of the road so we had a great view.

lionoverkillpendj-medium-web-view.jpg

The buffalo was killed during the night so we got to watch the ensuing post-kill drama throughout the day. We watched as the lions kept a wary eye on a nearby herd of buffalo (mourning relatives?) and took turns chasing off the increasing numbers of opportunistic vultures. In the afternoon, the vultures had free reign of the carcass but the lions were back at the kill around sundown. By the time the next morning rolled around, the kill had been reduced to a pile of skin and bones.

Lions are difficult to see at Penjdari so this was rare treat. That the whole family – indeed, the entire group of 35 people – got to see these lions up close and with a kill made it all the more sweeter.

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4 responses

9 09 2007
Loreli

Those pictures are amazing!
And I particularly like your phrase: “…with a kill made it all the more sweeter.”

10 09 2007
parkerfamily

Those are great times. Enjoy. Your comment about the mourning water buffalo may not be far off base. Apparently they are very loyal. This video is pretty well known:

(a little long but truly amazing)

and this one illustrates the same principle:

10 09 2007
bryanries

Yeah, the “Battle at Kruger” video is incredible! Oh to see just one of those amazing sequences – lions jumping in water to take down the calf, tug-of-war with a croc, buffalo flipping lion up in the air – in person!

Apparently, I’m only 3 degrees of separation from the person who actually filmed it. (My dad’s wife works with a guy who was in the car with the filmmaker at Kruger. He’s actually the one who posted it on YouTube.) Thanks for the other link too!

I can’t remember if we’d seen this footage before the Pendjari trip or not. I do remember thinking that those buffalo would have made more noise had the ‘kill’ still be alive. Fear the buffalo!

8 12 2007
Kenya Safaris

Images are really amazing!

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