To continue *********
I found my first YR of the trip in the parking lot at LS and left a note under the windscreen wiper saying SC was there. Wonder who I missed?
The Guy buys me a new book on every trip and my collection is growing nicely
“What’s that Bird?” by Kenneth Newman, is ideal for a novice like me. A starter’s guide to birds of Southern Africa, it offers the budding birder an easy entry into the often bewildering world of bird identification.
It was the first trip that SO really got into the “birding” thing and I was pleasantly surprised by his patience and good spotting skills. We could identify 98 different species
of which only three were id’ed by call … the Greyheaded Bush Shrike, Puffback and Klaas’s Cuckoo.
An ellie right next to the road, friendly and relaxed enough to photograph
I have a healthy respect for elephants and I’m usually very nervous around them. Our Duke meeting in September 2008 was a totally different experience. He was within three meters of our car and I was totally, completely at ease. There is something different about this gentle giant. Difficult to describe, impossible to understand. It felt as if unspoken words were passed between us. In recall, the magical spell he cast upon me, the awesomeness of being in his presence, will be moments I’ll cherish for as long as I live! Another little miracle in SC’s life
We spend quite some time scrutinizing the area around the dry riverbed and rocky outcrops just before the S28 turnoff to CB, where Martie had often seen the leopard and cub that she had mentioned on her blog. She was also on her way to check up on them when we met her on the road that morning, but no luck! We slowly worked our way back to camp.
A leopard with a difference
A pleasant surprise awaited us at Ntandanyathi hide! Lots of water! What a difference since our last visit when we had witnessed the suffering of hippos trapped in the mud. A heart wrenching experience
and now ....
The rains changed all that and it was pure joy watching them! Big round bellied submarines emerging from time to time, grunting and snorting messages that only hippos understand.
Unperturbed, a Grey Heron went about his business of finding something to snack on.
The road to camp was fairly quiet. By then most animals were seeking shelter and were resting in the shade. Birds were out in numbers, but not easy to take pics – unless they allowed me too, like this juvenile Martial Eagle.
A light lunch, and after a much needed power nap, we were out the gate at 4:00 pm. Temperature had risen to 34° C . Our idea of game viewing is with windows open, wind in your hair and the smell of bush in the air, but within seconds the aircon was going. We heard about three male lions that were seen on the S28 and hoped that the often seen cheetahs were also planning an afternoon stroll … so we eagerly set out on a cat hunt.
Zebras and wildebeest were returning to wherever they had set their minds to, impala grazed next to the road and a warthog family were down on their knees, the little bacon strips too cute for words!
The only photo opportunities, two rhinos
…. And an elephant with promising tusks – maybe a future gentle giant? The end of his tail is missing, can help to id him....
All of a sudden the wind changed, whipping up dust. The temperature dropped and pewter coloured clouds were rapidly spreading across the sky. Ahead of us we could see a car driving very slowly. They were obviously following something …
By the time we reached the spot, the centre of attraction had already left the stage and we could only get glimpses of the cheetahs moving further and further behind a curtain of bush. The lucky couple had the cats all to themselves for almost half an hour, so glad for them!
So sorry for myself!
Like soldiers out on patrol, we scoured the bush for any sign of our “targets” but without any success. Mission failed– no cats! They had disappeared ….. and we had to do the same if we were to be back in camp on time.
Good intentions, but thwarted by a nasty old bull ellie blocking the road! Ag nee!! I could feel the blood drain to my feet.
He was full of nonsense – a cantankerous, solid mass of instant trouble. He kept shaking his head and flapped his ears … stomped his foot and purposefully moved towards us.
Enough already!!!! I am no elephant whisperer, neither is SO. We were pushed back time and time again. SO, seemingly calm, displayed his skill in exploring Kruger through the rear window. I clung to the dashboard with running commentary on our progress or lack thereof
It seemed like forever before the old geezer decided he had enough of the unmatched duel and moved off into the bush, stopped, flapped his ears and disappeared in the thickets.
By then it was almost dark and we were glad we weren’t too far from camp. Even so, we arrived late by 5 minutes or so. Another little miracle
the gate was still open!
What an experience! PLEASE
not to be repeated …
But my troubles were not over yet – I still had to face the