In the month before the rainy season starts, it is 105+ degrees and the temperature is still climbing every day. We leave the bush camps at 6 AM to see the animals while active. By noon, nap time has started, for them and for us. The jackal (featured image) is usually seen running, but it is just too hot!
It is too hot to move all afternoon. No AC in the tents (in the picture above). The only solution is to lie naked and wet after a cold shower, under the ceiling fan, until you have finished evaporating and the heat drives you back into another cold shower. Lotsa nappin’ and drinkin’ until 4 PM when we head out to see animals approaching the water holes. The animals, at night mostly hunting or hiding/fleeing, hang out amiably at the water when they are made lethargic from the heat and are more thirsty than hungry.
Some immerse in mud for sun protection and to collect bugs on their skin that they rub off on trees when dried, thus cleaning the bugs off at the same time.
Some stay in the water all day, like hippos, only leaving the water at night to graze. We were lucky to catch this hippo out of the water during the day. Note the Maribou (“Undertaker Stork”) in front eating insects stirred up by the hippo’s tread, and the Oxbirds cleaning bugs from his back.
Most sleep in the shade, well camouflaged and it takes amazing guides to find them. An exception of course is lions having sex BRIEFLY. We observed this twice, and the acts took about 15 seconds, but happened every 20 minutes…
…interspersed with naps. Note how the female sleeps on her back helping the sperm with gravity..
This scene of everybody hanging out amicably at the waterhole is the answer to Rodney King’s query, “Why can’t we all get along?”. Like the zebra, impala, hippo and ostrich below, and the lions and elephants above, we can get along without violence if we are well fed, with ample clean water, good communities, and healthy sustainable ecology….at least until nightfall, when hunger drives the predators to do what they do best, hunt and kill the most vulnerable.