Ok….so we have a few pushy formites onboard demanding the next instalment even though we are not on a new page
. We were still on our way to Olifants for my first stay in this camp and something I was really looking forward to. We drove all the dirt roads in the hope of spotting something special, but nothing out of the ordinary appeared. All water points at the weirs were bone dry so the animals were keeping to the river. We stopped on the bridge over the Olifants and enjoyed a quick brunch of….you guessed it…Boerewors rolls and coffee. What a spectacular view you get from here. We spotted crocs, hippos, Giraffe, fish eagles, Saddle-bill storks etc from the bridge.
Travelling further along the Olifants, we saw a number of circling vultures over the opposite bank, but couldn’t see what they were circling over. We also spotted a few Vultures on the sandbanks drying their wings after a bath. I wished we were closer with a clear view of these bathing birds.
And then we came across the low water bridge at Balule. We crossed the bridge very slowly taking in all the scenery and possible hiding places where we spotted Pied Kingfishers going about their business of hovering and fishing. None of which took place close enough or on the right side of the vehicle. We heard the Fish Eagles and one even flew towards us only to disappear from view into one of the large trees. A common South African bird was this White Breasted Cormorant sunning itself on a rock.
While were parked on the bridge, an Osprey came flying straight towards us, looking down into the water for its next meal. I just about dislocated every joint in my body twisting aroundin the font seat in an attempt to track the bird as it flew over us. You try handholding a Canon 1D MK IV with a 500mm while trying to track a bird coming over your car
. I had only seen these beauties from afar in the West Coast National park so I was very excited to have squeezed off a few shots.
We also spotted the White-fronted bee-eaters darting about and snatching insects out of the sky. More of that later. We had to continually move as we were blocking the bridge to allow other cars to cross the river. Couldn’t they see we were busy getting shots for a TR?
Anyway, we drove on to Olifants where we checked in, brought a few things from the shop for the evening braai and set off again northwards along the Olifants taking the dirt roads.
We were forced to stop at one of the culverts to get a few shots of this Tree Squirrel.
The day was absolutely beautiful with temperatures now in the low 30s and not a breath of wind. We stopped off at a viewing point and my attention was immediately drawn to a feathered friend I had not seen before. Any ideas on the id?
The views were also spectacular.
And on we went……..tbc with the next episode I will call titled Explosions of color