Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sadaani National Park, 2nd Day

Sadaani, as well as hosting the best standard of accommodation we enjoyed on the trip, also has a dark past.  It was a hunting reserve and the animal population is dangerously low as a consequence.  For example the park has a total of five zebra, all male.  When the evil old men were finally kicked out of the park there were only ten zebra left and the lions ate all the females.   So the park is on the verge of a local hunting-induced species extinction.   Animal numbers are so low across the board that you can only see them by driving to the very centre of the park.

As birders and having already seen the majority of the larger species we opted for a drive to the local salt factory, as salt ponds can often host interesting species.

On the way we saw White-throated Bee-eaters:


An Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird:


Black-backed Puffback:


Black-necked Weaver:


Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters:


Pale Batis:


The stunning Northern Carmine Bee-eater:


Mangrove Kingfisher:


At the ponds we saw a few species mostly distant, including this Black-winged Stilt, but dark clouds had rolled in so we didn't stay long:



Instead we drove to the sister lodge, abutting the ocean, for lunch, and a fantastic view:


We saw distant terns:


A Sanderling quite close-by:








And waited for the rains to pass.   After lunch we started the drive back.   Driving through a National Park so bereft of mega-fauna really is very sad.   The life that should be there extinguished because a small number of us goes to a lot of effort and takes delight in killing things for their own pleasure.   Shame on them.

Anyway our afternoon took an unexpected turn when our driver managed to get our 4x4 completely stuck in the mud about 15 kilometers from our lodge.   The passing rain had made the roadside impassable.  In one of those rasher moments in life Helen and I decided, with a litre of water between us, we could walk back before sundown.

About an hour into the walk, having passed locals armed with knives and spears and having made slow progress due to the condition of the surface of the road and indeed alongside it, we began to regret our choice.  It occurred to me in fact staying with the vehicle would have been the very best thing.  Thankfully about half an hour later a gang of lads turned up from our lodge, on their other 4x4, they were dropped off to go and extract their colleague and his vehicle and we were driven back, feeling really quite sheepish.   Our trainers were kindly cleaned to remove the cloying soil and we got cleaned up.   So we'd got a walk but probably shouldn't have on reflection.

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