Dutch safari

We had heard about the deer rut in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, so we decided to check it out yesterday. Waiting for the gate to the park to open, it hit me: this is a safari! We drove our car slowly through the park, full of anticipation. The map indicates a few hotspots for deer, which were already filling up. There must have been a hundred other people in the park, setting up their tripods, waiting for the deer to arrive where they should be according to the map.

From where we stood, I could see a small group of deer resting on a grassy field. There was a strong wind blowing from behind us. I was worried that the deer would smell all these people waiting for them and wouldn’t come out. But, a little while later, Hermen came running, saying that he had spotted a deer a hundred meters down the road.

It was amazing! It seemed like the worst (or best) part of the rut was already over. The male deer had already collected their groups of females and were not that interested in fighting each other – at least not while we were there.

Such proud animals, with their heads held high! And such antlers must weigh quite something! Back in our original spot, the group of deer that were resting had also woken up and came close to the road. Great, these animals that follow the maps! We’re very happy to have had this chance to go on safari in the Netherlands.

Malachite kingfisher

The malachite kingfisher is one of the most beautifully colored kingfishers, with its creamy orange belly and dark blue back. If you are lucky, it will even show you its bright blue crest!
Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.

The Jesus bird

The African jacana seems to walk over the water and is therefore sometimes jokingly called the ‘Jesus bird’. In fact they are placing their long toes on the stems and leaves of floating vegetation. Jacanas are very special in that they are polyandrous, which means that one female has several male partners who take care of the chicks.Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Pearl-spotted owlet

A little pearl-spotted owlet gazing down at me from its perch on a wire. It was a magical day, finding our first pearl-spotted owlet in the morning and then finding another one at a completely different place in the afternoon. I feel like we’ve unlocked this species now!Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve.

Portrait of a giraffe

A black and white portrait of a giraffe that was checking us out. Giraffes are quite curious animals. If they see something strange – like a car, but I’ve also seen them do this with lions – they will watch it intently before ambling away.
Photo taken in Dinokeng Game Reserve

Pearl-spotted owlet

Yesterday we found not one but two of these lovely little owls in Dinokeng Game Reserve near Pretoria, South Africa. They hunt during the day from a perch, like this dead tree. A very special thing is that they have eyes in the back of their head, or at least spots that look like eyes as well!