Day 4, 11 March 2013, Part One
We were up early, the plan was to drive to Phalaborwa along the low maintenance roads, get to the gate around midday, do some shopping in town and return via Sable Dam and Masorini Picnic spot.
We turned south on the H1-6 heading towards the Phalaborwa road. It was quiet and our first sighting was not so nice: a dead green snake that got killed on the road not too long ago. Not far from the snake we were stopped by an Tawny Eagle witch just caught a chameleon for breakfast and took off not long after we arrived.
I think it’s a Green Mamba according to my snake book, but I’m not an expert… The Green Mamba is smaller and more slender than the Black Mamba. The Green Mamba’s head is long and flat-sided with a white mouth. The body is covered is smooth dull scales in a brilliant green colour with a lighter belly. They are rarely seen and are mostly arboreal gliding easily though the tree canopy searching for small mammals and birds. Bites are very rare, but the venom may cause death from paralysis. They are found though out the east of Southern Africa.
I hoped that the Tawny Eagle would find the dead snake later and on our return later that day the snake was gone.
We turned onto the Phalaborwa road (H14) and at one of the big “puddles” next to the road we spotted a lone female Knob-billed Duck and at the next waterhole was a lone Hippo witch took a dive before I could take a photograph but the dam’s big tree with the little weaver nests made a good picture.
This is a female Knob-billed Duck. Knob-billed ducks are not threatened and number have increased over the years especially in protected areas.
Before we got the low water bridge we had to stop for a Zebra-crossing witch we always enjoy. Zebra make the best pictures and the stripes on one of them were very interesting, as if someone messed up the paint job before the paint was dry.
Along the way a Mopani worm thought the Mopani leaves on the other side of the road must be a lot tastier!
At the low water bridge we spotted a Woodland Kingfisher, a Terrapin and a lazy old Crocodile. We’ve heard the Woodland Kingfishers since we arrived in Kruger and spotted a few around Tsendze, but this one sat still for a nice picture.
The Woodland Kingfisher is one of my favourite summer visitors! They are Intra-Africa migrants and have strong numbers. Their call is just synonymous with the bush veld in summer. They prefer open woodland savanna, particularly along rivers, swamps and wetland fringes. They eat almost anything from grasshoppers, lizards, small snakes, frogs and small birds.
Before we knew it we were at the turnoff for the low maintenance road and the adventure could begin. The best part of driving along these little roads is that we did not encounter any other vehicles, all alone in the African bush just the way we like it!Day 4, to continue......