Waking up in Tamboti…
We had gone to sleep with the sound of lions roaring – and we were woken up by them too, both during the night, and then early morning.
I have to say – I thoroughly enjoyed waking up to lions, as opposed to my dreaded alarm clock!
When we were woken up for the last time (around 4.30am), we both got up to see if we could actually spot them… they sounded so close, but we couldn’t see them at all. Not having the best flashlight didn’t help the matter, I guess.
It was cold and dark out there, so back to bed I went… I lay there for about an hour just listening to them. They really did sound very close.
It was so relaxing – lying there in our tent, all cosy and warm – listening to lions roar.
I have to admit – I wasn't in a mad rush to get out of bed this morning!
Eventually the lure of coffee and breakfast got me up, and soon after that we were in the car.
The first thing we noticed when we got in the car was our fuel – we only had just over a quarter of a tank left. My bad – I should have noticed this on my previous evening’s drive
(At least Mork didn't give me too much grief about this – just a little light-hearted ribbing, all totally deserved
We didn't want to leave the Park and miss the awesome part of the morning, so we decided to go for a little drive, and turn around just after the fuel gauge went below the ¼ tank mark. Then we would head back to Orpen to fill up.
On our way out of Tamboti, we came across our baboon friends in the dry river bed:
(Bit blurry I know – my eyes were still warming up)
And then a lone wilderbeest on the road out of Tamboti:
When we got to the H7, we could see our ostrich friend – this time a lot closer to the road than what he'd been yesterday:
Originally we had wanted to drive the S140 this morning (the road that goes past Talamati), but being a much longer route (and one we weren't familiar with) we decided that – given our fuel situation – this wasn't the morning to do so
So we continued along the (detour) S106 to the H7.
There were LOTS of giraffes today… gosh I love them. I have so many lovely photos, but I’ll just indulge myself with two:
Then this little fella crossed the road – is this a Grey Duiker?
I don’t think I've ever seen one before.
This morning we decided to check the Bobbejaankrans Lookout point – not much to see from the lookout, but there were Waterbuck enjoying their breakfast near the road:
Mork had his eye on the fuel gauge the entire time… we were a little worried because the gauge seemed to be dropping quicker at the end of the tank that what it did at the start. I’d asked him to drive this morning because I would have had the attitude of “oh let’s just drive a little further and then we’ll turn around…” – not smart
Mork is far more rational in these situations than me, so when he said “we need to think about turning around soon” – I knew we wouldn't have much longer
We decided to drive up the Timbavati Road just for a little bit – and I’m pleased we did, it was an animal buffet there, with lots of babies around.
The baby giraffe in the background was cute – shame I didn't get any award-winning photos of it though
Mr and Mrs Kudu were also there, enjoying their early meal:
We had turned the car off and just watched this scene for a good half hour. It was so peaceful – just watching the animals all eating / wandering / playing – with the view of the bush and the mountains in the background.
Once we’d decided we’d watched for long enough, we turned around – with heavy hearts I have to say. So silly of me not checking the fuel – we’d lost half a morning drive because of it
It was a little uneventful on the H7 – although I did manage to spot an old kill in a tree far away:
I’ve never seen a LIT – just lots of kills in trees… today was no exception
Heading back along the S106, Mork slammed on the brakes and said “I've just seen something running in the bush – I think it’s about to cross the road…”
Right on cue – we finally had our first hyena’s come into view!
There were three of them, and they were on a mission – crossing the road and running straight back into the bush. We were somewhat relieved to see hyenas – I’d always seen so many of them, but this trip was much quieter for hyena sightings.
Someone we spoke to in camp told us that they believe the hyena numbers are in decline, but I would have no idea if this is actually true.
Anyhoo – we could now confirm they still exist
Once the hyenas ran off, these two popped their heads up:
They had hidden themselves well... lucky, clever steenbokkies!!!
Once we got back on the H7 – the warthog family was back out foraging:
And just before we got to the Orpen gate – we saw this Dwarf Mongoose:
I took so many photos of it, and didn't get any decent ones… my photography skills were frustrating me, to say the least
We were also lucky to get a glimpse of the jackal pair again, but they didn’t stay put long enough for a photo.
Out through Orpen we went to the petrol station.
I have to say I was impressed to see the SANParks staff checking cars for guns / ammo / poached animals / etc. on the way out… go the anti-poaching efforts!!!
Once fuelled up, we headed back to Orpen to check the sightings board.
Well I went to check the board while Mork organised us some “real” coffee.
My heart sunk when I got there. A couple had just arrived, and they'd spotted Wild Dogs on the Timbavati Road... The same road we'd been driving on, and would probably still be travelling on, if I had checked our fuel situation
Mork took it surprisingly well… He didn't even bring up his wishlist of the leopard, cheetah and wild dog(!!) I think because he was actually really tired - he certainly looked quite shattered.
We discussed whether we thought they'd still be there but I was leaning towards no… the couple told me they had been on the move, and they move so far so quickly – I didn't like our chances.
We decided to head back to our tent, have a feed, shower and rest, and then head out for a (very early) afternoon drive.
We were greeted by a friendly squirrel on our return to Tamboti
I crashed out for two hours after that. The lions keeping us awake all night had caught up with the both of us, and Mork slept for even longer
While Mork was still snoozing, I got out the binoculars and watched the birds in the river bed. There were still a few puddles of water left, and a number of different birds were having baths in one of the larger puddles.
To my delight – I think I saw my first ever Violet-backed Starling:
The photo isn't the best because this was at the other side of the river bed (I've had to crop this quite severely to even see the birds) – but I think the one on the right is the Starling…
This got the blood pumping again, and I decided Mork had slept for long enough!
So after waking him up, coaxing him out of his slumber with food, and packing our snacks – we headed off for our afternoon drive.