Driving back to camp after a splendid morning tracking a lone Lioness for two hours, eventually finding her plus four two and a half month old cubs.
We were just passing an area locally known as Jouberts Island. Here the flood plains are drying up awaiting the seasonal flood to return. It has left pools and small puddles which the wading birds thrive upon.
We were watching Black Winged Stilts slowly stalking through the water when I spotted a small log or branch that didn’t look quite right. On closer inspection (using binoculars for by this stage I knew what it was) the guests laid eyes on their first Black Mamba.
Most of its body was in a puddle with just about a foot and a half out, it’s head and neck must have been six inches raised from the ground.
It slowly started to glide from the puddle and as we watch taking the odd picture and blowing it up on the camera screens to get a good look at its head there was a sudden woosh over our heads and a blur as a Brown Snake Eagle dived upon the Mamba. The snake saw it at the last moment and raised its body a good meter plus off the ground swaying and twisting as it avoided the eagles talons. I dear say even striking out at the bird too. The eagle perhaps realising that it’s prey was a Black Mamba pulled up for a second strike but the game was lost. He settled down next to the snake and watched. The snake had inflated its small hood and stood his ground, quite literally towering above the eagle.
As all this was happening a Hammerkop flew his for his part of the action. Stalking around the snake as if he were going get involved too. The Snake Eagle realising that the snake had the upper hand flew off to a dead tree about three hundred yards away and watch the hammerkop who must have realised that ‘Oh no it’s a Mamba as it suddenly took flight without so much of a glance back.
We guesstimated the snake to 2.5 meters long.