Mbane River crocodile

Moukalaba-Doudou National Park.     We had just crossed the Mbane River, keeping to the grassy banks to avoid the crush of vegetation, when guides Pie, Ange, and Jet quietly motioned us forward. A female Nile crocodile was sunning on her nest about 15 meters before us, as yet unaware of our presence.

Our principal guide, Pie, scans the banks of Mbane River for any sign of crocodiles.

Nearly 4 meters in length, she was impressive even while partially hidden in the grass. As we carefully approached, she became aware of us and with a sudden explosion of action she lunged for the river in a spray of sand, diving from the meter-high bank with a tremendous splash. We followed the surge of her movement beneath the water as she headed upstream until the river current erased any trace of her presence. The next river crossing was slightly more apprehensive; we were all eyes searching the depths, imagining her barreling through the water in our direction.

Ange estimates the width of the crocodile from impressions on the nest as Pie and Jet, and visitors Dave and Jean, observe.

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