I left you while Dungie and I were sitting at the Shingwedzi causeway, where we had stopped for an early morning visit , before we drove back to Mopani.
We were thinking of moving on, when we saw something strolling along one of the sandbanks. As it approached us, we both did a double take, as we couldn’t believe what we were seeing!!
It was a magnificent leopard!! Oh wow wow wow!!
Now where’s my camera?….Oh yes, I remember, it doesn’t work!!
Still we had seen it, that was the main thing. Our first leopard of the trip!!
He sniffed around and began looking into the water. We had once seen a leopard near Afsaal, who was lopping out catfish with her paw, so wondered whether this beauty was going to do the same thing.
Unfortunately we never found out the answer to that question, because at that point, a very noisy 4x4 decided to pull up quite near to him, and with a haughty glance at the offending vehicle, our beautiful leopard turned around and returned to the bush.
In all fairness, the people in the 4x4 had obeyed the viewing etiquette, they just had a very noisy vehicle, so we just put it down to fate!! Maybe another time……..
We saw very little game or birds on our way down to Mopani, so we decided to take The Tropic of Capricorn Loop (beeg mistake!!).
The first part was fine and we stopped at Tihongonyeni waterhole, where we were delighted to see a herd of Tsessebe - not lifers, but very rarely seen by us. Of course there were no photo opportunities, but we were thrilled to have seen them.
We moved on and noticed that the road was getting narrower, and there were more trees on either side.
All of a sudden, one of my worst nightmares……a close encounter with a huge bull elephant.
Then another, and another, and so on, until there seemed to one popping out from behind every tree.
They were mostly intent on heading for the water, so mercifully weren’t too interested in us, until we came across “big daddy”.
There he was, in the middle of the road, and there began the routine.!!
We had stopped with the car in reverse, and watched him shake his head and proceed to walk towards us!!
He came nearer and nearer picking up speed, so Dungie hit the gas, and back we went!!
After a short while, he shook his head vigorously and trundled off to join his friends heading for the water.
We had no desire to hang about, so drove off towards Mopani camp and safety.
I had vowed never to return to the loop, but I do know it has produced amazing sightings in the past, so we’ll see………
We spent another very quiet and peaceful overnight stay at Mopani - This time with a shower that wasn’t blocked!!
We have found that the laundries vary in price throughout the park, but the one at Letaba is the best value in our opinion, because the washer is R5 and the dryer is free!!!
Therefore en route from Mopani to Satara, we called in there to do a well overdue load!!
We put the washing in, and went to the restaurant while it was doing it’s thing!!
After we had finished, we went to sit on the bench in front of the restaurant, still bemoaning the fact that we had a swish new camera that didn’t work.
All of a sudden, somebody tapped me on the shoulder!!
I turned round to find Michel 367 & Sprocky standing there. We had met Michel at the cricket, but it was the first time that we had seen Sprocky, and it was so great to catch up with them both.
I was telling them the sad tale of my uncooperative camera, and Michel said that he would take a look.
To cut long story short, he put it back to the factory settings, and lo and behold, I had a camera that worked again!!! He also advised us to buy the better quality batteries - I was always a cheapskate!!
Michel you are a star!!! The main man!!
We also briefly met Aboon and her SO at Letaba, and after we had finished the drying we set off for Satara, now armed with a working camera, for the first time in five days.
Here are a few people we met along the way.
To be continued…………