She did not feel disturbed by us in any way and so we followed her slowly whilst she was changing her positions
A lot of other birds were also present but most of them where simply too far away but we saw hadedahs and a family of white-faced ducks even with chicks.
What a staring eye she had!
Sorry for the amount of stork pictures but we really could not resist in not taking any pictures of this beauty as the colours of the feathers even during that bad weather were simply breathtaking.
After she departed farer and farer from the shore we left as well and to stop again at Tshokwane or at least the remains of what was Tshokwane previously. The portaloos were the cleanest which I ever have visited compared to many which we had to use during one of Timon’s running events and here we met again Elsa & Co. and we had another chat also about the place where we were standing just right now. It is great to hear that same is meanwhile running and buzzing as usual and I already looking forward to have my obligatory ice cream there again next year!
Normally we are driving straight the tar road further but this year we decided to pay Orpen dam a visit as we only have been there once. Presently it started again to rain again heavily and whilst sitting at the dam and admiring the view which we had all to ourselves we still could see that also at this place how high the flood level had risen.
We carried on the S32/35 which must only have been reopened shortly after the flood as the branch which normally signalizing a road closure was still visible but had been pushed aside – The first part was easily to be driven but due to the only recent rains muddy but when we came to the crossing over the N’waswitsontso we were shocked as lot of debris in the previous river bed was lying around between which we had to drive, muddy puddles had to be crossed to reach the other side and on top of that one of the hugest elephant bulls came running, declared the crossing to his private drinking whole and was blocking the road.
So one of my greatest nightmares became true – as we were standing with our car in the middle on a muddy road and had to drive backwards uphill a bit farer away from our ellie friend which meanwhile stayed alarmingly close to our car.
Gladly for us was that Mr. Grey Mass was definitely not interested in us and even ignored us the whole time – he was only interested in quenching his thirst which took for us endlessly.
If you look carefully a lot of debris looks like littered everywhere but obviously the animals did not bother as a couple of them could we spotted on the stretch of the road although I could have set this giant ellie aside.
But after an unending time he was gone
and we dared to cross the little stream, passed muddy sand and finally reached the other side of the road where from out of nowhere a huge giraffe was standing eying us suspiciously as if we have just done something which was not allowed. The S35 itself is also a nice drive as same is more open and is allowing a wide view without any huge trees or bushes blocking same. A Swaison francolin was sitting high on a branch either on a lookout or simply because same did not want to get wet feet.
Meanwhile the heavy rain changed over into slight drizzle and it even got a bit brighter and it looks also as if this impala ram had enough rain already today.
Whilst finally turning into the tar road we realized that this road was definitely not closed, however, I cannot imagine how people in a normal sedan car would have crossed that special part of the gravel road where the ellie is having his playground. Mazithi and Kumana dam were as full as never before and even the shore was hardly be visible
consequently there were no animals to be seen but from the tar road we could easily spot that the N’waswitsontso, normally only a small stream, must have been hit by the flood very badly as devastation was highly visible, simply because the river bed is now having the double size as known from previous visits, especially the S86 allowed some adventurous views into the now huge river bed. Needless to say that most of the water was at that time already gone but some huge puddles and pans still could be seen.
The road to the Southernmost baobab was closed but as we knew that the S125 and the S36 into the Northern direction had only been reopened again we decided to allow us a nice detour to Satara as it still was too early to check in and the more North we came the less the rain got an after another short but heavy rain shower it more or less kept dry and got brighter and brighter and with the brighter day more animals appeared from nearly everywhere suddenly. Ellies and impalas were plentiful
and even the normally not hydrophobic vultures could be spotted whilst it got drier and we had to be careful in not overlooking this little chap
or one of the hugest and hungriest leopard tortoises which we ever saw.
Also more and more birds could be seen suddenly it was as if the bush awoke again from the night carmine bee eater were eager in hunting their favourite preys whilst the lilac breasted roller was still drying its feathers by spreading the wings.
The ground hornbills were wading around between the wet grass,
joined by several lone elephant bulls
whilst this yellow-bill kite decided to still watch the world from high above and look what might come around.
Also the one and only car we met here out of which a couple of young people warned us about the road closure of the S36 into southern direction but as we were going North there was no hindrance for us in carrying on but we thanked them for their thoughtfulness.
Finally at Ximangwaneni the last rain drops came down until the sun won over all the grey clouds and came out more and more.
Between the lots of water dikkops and black smith plovers which could be seen to a great extend on the water edge a bird a bit farer away in a bush got soon our full attention as it was another new tick for us (Number 8 during that trip) - a Whiskered Tern
We simply parked there and spend quite a long while admiring this peaceful spot and already felt a bit sentimental as we did not stay at Talamati during this holiday as this was always our early morning and later afternoon target.to be continued with new and good old friends.......