Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mud Bath Lake Edward Style

While visiting Ishasha, the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park we ventured to the Lake Edward Flats, an opportunity best taken during the dry season.  The area is known to birders as there are numerous species that can be checked off your list in a very short amount of time.  As the name suggests it's flat and scattered about are several mud wallows with buffalo lazing in them.  What surprised us most was how unwilling the buffalo were to move as we approached.  I suppose it was hot and they were cool and comfortable.   We explored the area thoroughly, repeatedly stopping and scanning for the Shoebill, which continued to elude us.  What we were about to experience ranks high on the list of animal encounters in Africa for both of us.  The sun was setting and it was time that we should be moving on to get back to our camp before darkness was upon us.  As we were driving through the flats, we drove towards a mud wallow, which appeared to be just that, a mud wallow but as we came closer it exploded and gave both of us a fright.  What we saw, neither of us could believe.  A Cape Buffalo who had been almost fully submerged in the mud was standing next to his vacated premises staring at us wondering why we disturbed his mud bath.  We have never seen anything like it, the thick gray mud clinging to nearly every inch of his body.  His annoyance grew and he decided to run off in anger.  Unfortunately for him there was nowhere to hide.  As he ran as fast as he could through the flats we marvelled at this massive creature that was camouflaged in a mud bath, if he hadn't gotten annoyed we would have never known he was there.  Africa never ceases to amaze us!

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