Friday, March 30, 2012

Toka Leya

We came to Zambia primarily to see Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We are staying at a Toka Leya camp on the river in Mosi O Tunya National Park, so we have more to do than just view the falls. After a 15 minute drive from the airport, we got on a boat for a 2 minute ride to the camp, passing a group of three hippos on the way. After settling in, we walked down to the lodge for tea at 3:30 ready for a boat cruise on the Zambezi River.
Shyly Taking to the Water
The Malevolent Eye
We stopped first to look at a couple of huge crocodiles between 4 and 5 meters in length. The female betrayed her shyness by quickly sliding into the water. The male just continued to lay on the sand and keep his eye on things. A little later we saw one only about 1.5 meters long. Probably about a few months old, he is now on his own in the world. He seemed as unconcerned about us as the older ones.
Hippo Avoiding the Sun
We saw several hippos resting in the water. They avoid the sun by staying submerged. Their skin is highly susceptible to burning and drying out. They are also highly territorial and dangerous causing more deaths by animal in Africa than any other beast. We sped away from two of them because they were with youngsters and had no desire to get involved with that.

We had a decent look at a Cape Buffalo. This is one of the Big Five or the most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa.
African Mourning Doves - Slightly Larger than Ours
White-fronted Bee-eaters Hanging Out at Home
The highlight of the evening was the birds. We saw 25 different birds, 14 of them new to us. Enjoy the pictures.

Note the Holes in the River Bank
Beautiful Little Birds Who Eat Bees and Other Insects
African Openbill - The bill edges are sharp enough to crack mussel shells.

Spur-winged Goose

Water Thickknee - They do have thick knees.

Malachite Kingfisher - One of several species of kingfisher in Southern Africa

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