Travelling from to Mata-Mata to Twee Rivieren
We woke up to our last hours in the park. It was still dark, so I couldn’t make out the state of the sky yet. Overcast, as it turned out later. I wasn’t too happy with that as I knew it meant I would be cheated for the raptors.
By the time we left the camp (at 7am sharp, 3rd in line) the sun tried breaking up the clouds.
A bit further down the road between Sitzas and Craig Lockhardt a BEF was foraging in the tall grass.
Not such a bad start so far, methought. And it got even better when with our decision to leave out the Dalkeith loop as the giraffes we found were closer to the main road than the riverbed.
The sun was still fighting the clouds, as you can see.
On the right hand side there were two giraffes fondly caressing each other with their long necks and their heads.
Not even 10 minutes later the sun had pushed away most of the overcast morning and gave way to a beautiful wildebeest scene:
At this point I told Spots that we were in for something good before we left. I’m not joking when I tell you that a lot of days I had a gut feeling whether something exciting was to come or not. Well, next up was another new tick on my bird list.
A black-shouldered kite. I find them very interesting raptors with their intense eyes:
Soon after we had entered the loop of the Dertiende Boorgat we had some speedsters overtaking us to our right.
But they were four-legged ones. First I thought it was wildebeests gone wild and enjoying the moment, but watching the two of them it more and more resembled like one wildebeest trying to chase off the other. And they were quick! We traveled at about 30km/h at that point – not really slow either, but they easily passed us and soon were only hardly to be seen anymore. They only stopped when they had arrived close to the waterhole with the chaser turning on his heels and trotting back the way he had come.
By now we had also gladly shaken off the traffic (we had been travelling with about 6 cars being visible from back to front), when we bumped into 7 parked cars at the hyena den north of Uri. We were in a terrible photo position and couldn’t escape the masses either as someone was parked diagonally in the road.
This is the best I could achieve from our slot:
By the time the others were done with the shots, the hyena had dropped down flat again.
Oh well. It wasn’t even 9 am and we had seen BEF, a new birdie, giraffes, wildebeests running and beautiful landscapes already. And there was still more to come. I was sure. But even if not, those sightings were enough already to keep me happy.
Further south we saw a tawny manning and controlling Kamqua waterhole, found our first steenbok on the Aoub side just after Rooibrak and a martial eagle against the grey turned deep blue sky opposite the little antelope. All of them were either too skittish (steenbok) or too far off (raptors) to get a good photo. I tried on the martial anyway – and normally I wouldn’t have posted it, but I’ll tell you soon why I did anyway:
There were also some oryx fighting for who knows what – and this time they kept going.
After watching and listening for a while – those horns slammed against each other do make quite some impressive noise! – we moved on. But we didn’t get far when the last of a three car convoy waved us down to asked whether we had seen the cheetah in the tree just 500 meters up the road where we were coming from. Say what??? (Sorry, Elzet, had to borrow this here.) Cheetah in tree and we missed it???
Never have seen a cheetah really in a tree, and it must be in one. If it had been on a log, we surely wouldn’t have missed it, or would we?
Anyway, Spots turned the car in no time (with all the turns we did – he never even once touch the verge of the road
) and off we went trailing the convoy to find the cheetah. 500 meters were gone…and…nothing…600 meters…still nothing…700 meters…Where is that bl**dy cheetah??? 800 meters…nada. Spots started to fear that it was gone already, but the cars on front of us were still scanning and I reminded Spots about the accurate
distant declaration at a wild dog sighting in KNP where 2 k’s turned into 5… After another 100 metres without having found the cheetah I started doubting. Half jokingly, half serious I said to Spots that this probably was a sly stunt. Most likely it wasn’t a cheetah at all, but a leopard anyway.