As I went out the other day with Anna and Andrew towards the Hippo Pool for an afternoon drive we got a bit distracted on the way there. As we were bumbling along I noticed a Lilac Breasted Roller flying into a tree carrying what looked like a frog. Now I have seen and photographed hundreds, maybe even thousands of these birds, but never with anything else than insects, even though their diet descriptions in the books do include small vertebrates and amphibians.
So we went a bit closer for a good look and indeed it was perched in a tree and smashing the hapless frog against a branch. It does this to kill/stun its prey and dismember it or soften it up before trying to swallow it. We enjoyed the view for a while but as the bird moved a bit leaves got in the way and we carried on, we were on our way to the Hippo Pool.
But again we were halted in our tracks as we found some Elephants in the forest along the Msini River, there were three younger bulls about to cross the dry riverbed. Of course we stopped for a look and some photos. As the bulls descended one by one they felt a bit exposed and vulnerable, for a heavy creature like an Elephant going downhill is not easy. But luckily there were a few Yellow Baboons around to take the brunt of their frustrations.
In the end we made it to the Hippo Pool where we were greeted with lots of honking, wheezing and the lovely smell of Hippos in stagnant water. But you have to visit here to really appreciate it. Sundowners we enjoyed in one of my favorite places where you look out over the Msini forest to the east and the sunset and the hills to the west.