Thursday, 20 September 2007
5:00, time to get up for the last day on the trail. Everybody ready to go at round about 7:00. It was our turn to be Tail-end Charlie.
Shortly after we left the camp, we saw a flock of Crested Guinea Fowl. Knowing that it could be rather difficult to see them, it was a very special sighting, my fist one of them. It was very difficult to get a clear picture of them. Jerry stopped a bit further on and gave us some information about the vegetation around us. We also saw some spoor of the guinea fowl and hyena. After this, we saw two more flocks of guinea fowl. So, how rare are they?
There are quite a few trees with boxes in them. This is used for some kind of research.
We came to a stop again, and had the most beautiful view over the park. Here you can see the power lines coming from the Cahora Basa dam. Jerry told us, as we go under the lines, we should see fresh spoor from illegal immigrants crossing the park to work in SA.
We continued to the Pafuri border post. On the way there we saw the most spectacular baobab trees. We also saw Nyala and Kudu. It seems as if there is only red sand between the trees. One can feel the dryness of the environment around you.
Close to the border post we saw some painted stones on the right hand side of the road. Just downhill from the staff village. We stopped at the top of the hill with the staff village on the right and Wenela on the left.
Wenela was used to recruit people from Mozambique and Zimbabwe to work in the mines in South Africa. It is now a guesthouse and they are planning to change it to a camp and build the section rangers’ house where we saw the painted stones. We walked around there, what a lovely place and met the sergeant, 2nd in command, also a very friendly person.
We even saw a true vegetarian potjie for Dinky Bird.
Some of the flora at Wenela
We went down hill again and made a u turn at the Pafuri Border post. From there we continued to the pump station with the markings of different flood levels on it. It is just mind blowing to imaging the masses of water going thru there when there is a flood, especially if you think the pump station is 900m from the Limpopo River.
We were surrounded by fever trees, and this isn’t the fever tree forest yet. Can you think how beautiful is must be there.
From the pump station we continued to Crooks Corner. Being closer to the river, it wasn’t that dry anymore. Our first time at Crooks Corner, and again, I was just amazed by the view, even with the river being so dry. As we drove thru the rather thick vegetation I thought by myself this looks like leopard territory, and thou we didn’t see it, Jerry did saw its spoor where we climbed out of the vehicles.
We saw some Mozambiquens / Zimbabweans fishing in the river. Jerry told us the story about Crooks Corner.
On the way to Pafuri we had an interesting encounter with an elephant again. The first 3 vehicles went past without a problem, and then he decided he wants to cross the road and this red bakkie is in his way. With a flapping of ears and a low grumble from the elli, the bakkie made way and it passed between it and the bakkie in front of us. We, this is now the last two vehicles, kept a safe distance until the elephant was calmer again, and passed without any problems. Just down the road and around the bend there was another one munching on a bush, barely noticing us.
We drove next to the Levuvhu River. I could understand why Jerry said this is one of his most favorite places. We saw baboons, crocodiles, hippos, nyala, kudu, impala and a pair of Trumpeter Hornbills.
We continued to Pafuri picnic spot, the end of the trail. Here we said our goodbyes. Jerry left for home, as well as one of the vehicles, as their son had to get ready for a hiking trail he’s going on. The other pair from Durban stayed for a short picnic before moving on to Shingwedzi, while DB and I, armed with our binoculars, went with Frank in search of some birds. What a privilege to meet someone with such a love for what he is doing. The rest of our party was sitting next to the river, waiting for the two of us.
Even with half the party gone, it was as if you want hold on to the idea of being on the Lebombo trail as long as you can. And leaving Pafuri was leaving the trail…