Thank you Micetta, FC, Katja and Shi for you encouragement.
MM thanks for identifying the lizard. Every creature, big or small is fascisnating, as each one plays an important role in our ecology.
At daybreak we headed for a visit to another of our favourite camps – Shingwedzi
We spent almost half an hour with this group of 5 hyenas. They darted erratically towards one another and then back and forth from one side of the road to the other, sniffing the air. They jostled for position at the whiff of something in the grass. We assumed that through this display of body language they were communicating an essential, basic message to each other.
Coincidentally, while watching a programme about hyenas on TV last night, we learnt that hyenas are prolific territorial scent markers. The large scent glands situated below the anus secrete a sticky substance which they deposit on grass, twigs and even their prey. This behaviour communicates a variety of messages to other members of their clan or as a possible warning to opposing clans.
An unhurried tortoise made his way across the road
Once again we passed very few vehicles. The secluded, rustic Tshange picnic spot was an ideal stop for a cup of coffee and a rusk. Unfortunately, we did not take photos here but well worth a visit.
We took the R52 which follows the river leading us through magnificent riverine forests resplendent with gigantic trees towering above us. We savoured the serenity and beauty, the stillness and timelessness of this area. Arriving at Shingwedzi in time for lunch, despite the excessive midday heat, we enjoyed our own food at the day visitors’ picnic site from where we could see, for the first time large pockets of water in the river. On all our previous visits here, the river bed has been dry.
Numerous birds flitted in and out of the trees and shrubs around us. The odd squirrel scuttled up and down the tree trunks and a large monitor lizard patrolled the bank.
As we returned to our car, we were jovially greeted by a beautiful, vivacious young lady sporting a brightly painted bird on a black T-shirt.
Emblazoned below the bird was the telling statement “I am a bird of another kind” or words to that effect. This was Shi who so generously shares “her” farm with one and all.
Shi was accompanied by a kindly Bavarian gentleman (of Schnapps fame)
who is obviously passionate about our parks.
It was lovely to meet you Flying Cheetah and Shi. Thank you for spotting our YR and initiating the greeting.
After bidding our new-found friends goodbye, we continued down "memory lane" as we drove along one of our favourite routes, the S134 skirting the Shingwedzi River and past Kanniedood Dam.
This little frog was seeking shelter from the midday sun under Nyawutsi Hide.
Elephants enjoying the water
A happy hippo, surveying his domain
This colourful chameleon crawled across the road moving his limbs in staccato fashion, extremely slowly.
By contrast, soon after he hunched his back, he sped off rapidly disappearing into the thick grass.
A then a blind snake about 30cm long
We followed the S50 which took us along the Tropic of Capricorn again.
This flustered pair of crowned plovers was attempting to distract a falcon hovering above the grass nearby.