This would be our last day at Punda and we had ear-marked this day for a trip up to Pafuri. We got up early and were so surprized to find a Bushbaby sitting on the fence right in front of our tent. Unfortunately no pics because I was half asleep! Incidently our braais had not been cleaned since our arrival - 3 days which was very annoying. We hoped that this would happen on our last day!
We took the short cut past the Klopperfontein mud hole and were greeted by this sad sight - a Sharpe's Grysbok which had suffocated in the mud. What did puzzle us is that the carcass was lying on "safe" ground next to the dam which meant that it must have been dragged out of the mud but had not been eaten! There were two impala lying dead in the mud - this had all happened since our last visit
En-route to Pafuri we saw a number of really big tuskers in the distance but not much else. We decided to drive the S64 Nyala Loop which nis the road leading to the Thulamela Ruins. This would be our first time on this road. This White-fronted Bee-eater was there to welcome us
Once again we were so shocked to see how dry it was - not a blade of grass to be seen in the Luvuvhu valley
However this is still a beautiful drive with magestic baobabs dotted along the skyline. One can only imagine what this area must look like after good rains
We met a rather cheeky young elephant bull along the way who made sure that we had to wait our turn before proceeding along the route. We managed to get passed - not without much trumpeting and dust!. We turned at the Thulamela gate where we saw large numbers of Nyala picking up whatever morsals were available and headed back to the Pafuri Picnic site to have brunch. Along the way we encountered the same Ellie - it seemed as though he new we had to head back his way because this time he was more determined not to let us pass. We eventually turned round and headed back quite a way where we found some nice shade to stop and give him time to move off. To our dismay after a few minutes he appeared round the bend and made a beeline for us. In desperation I fired up the Landy and made a big detour through the parched valley to get round him and out of harms way - illegal but very necessary! This Kudu cow made an appearance as we reached the tar road
The wind had come up and we decided to rather head down the S63 to Crooks Corner in the hope that the wind would die down before we had our picnic.
As expected the Limpopo river was bone dry but fortunately the Luvuvhu was still flowing. This is what Crooks Corner looked like
There were a few small crocs....
....and a few big ones sunning themselves here
We took a nice slow drive along the river bank heading back towards the picnic site. Along the way we saw Nyala
...an Impala doing his best to "chat up" the girls
...and a wise man surveying the countryside
We enjoyed our brunch despite the blustery conditions - must say it was quite a challenge lighting the gas though. Sadly one individual spoilt it for us and many others by showing off his skills with a catapult - really looked proud of himself. Yes, there were monkeys but why this idiot had to parade around the camp site taking pot shots at the monkeys that were sitting half way up these huge trees only he would know! Shame.
After a good break we took the high road back to Punda seeing Tsessebbe (really getting spoilt) and a few Zebra along the way
Well what do you know - our braai had been cleaned.
I am afraid Punda did not score many points with us on this trip.
While we were starting to do a bit of packing up this Yellow-bellied Bulbul visted us