Week beginning Dec 9th.
This was a week of mixed blessings!!
Monday we visited Letaba for a toastie, which I'm pleased to say was hot, tasty and came very quickly with a smile from the waiter.
Sadly there is still no sign of Desi or the Klippie family, at Erfplaas, and even no Dassies or Klippies at the Sable Hide turning near Masorini.
We didn't see any doggies or moggies, but saw plenty of general game.............Waterbuck, Wilderbeest, Buffalo, Ellies, Giraffe, Zebbies, Warties, Impala, Steenbok and a large Secretary Bird who was digging for worms at Rhidonda Pan.
We were almost at the gate, and looking forward to our braai, when we came across what looked like a police and ranger road block!!!
However, as we got closer, we could see a beautiful young Ellie lying just on the road in a pool of blood.
I gestured to the ranger "Whatever has happened" but he looked devastated and just directed us to pass.
When we got to the gate, the guard said that it has been shot by poachers, and though that information somehow didn't ring true, we had no reason to disbelieve him, until I logged onto Facebook, and eventually got the true story.
Apparently the Phala Traffic Cop, and the ranger who was guarding him, were charged by a group of Ellies. The ranger fired warning shots, and most of the group dispersed, all except one who continued to charge. Therefore the ranger had no option but to shoot it.
Although we were relieved to discover that it had not in fact been pochers, it was still awful to remember that beautiful young animal cut off in his prime, and those images of him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, will stay with me for a long while to come!!!
We were a sombre trio that night as we braaied steak,wors and chicken thighs, and after we had eaten sufficient, we treated ourselves to a large and well deserved Amarula!!!
We somehow didn't feel like going into the park for the next few days, but by Saturday we were experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and so we were at the gate just turned 5.30am.
As we approached the place where the Ellie had fallen, we saw loads of vultures, and we soon saw that the rangers had moved the unfortunate beast a bit further into the bush than where it had fallen.
We were not surprised to see that the carcass had been almost picked clean.
Just a bit further on, we saw 2 cars parked, and on stopping to enquire what was happening, we were told that there were two leopards on a termite mound!!!
Unfortunately it was not the best of views, as they were a distance away, behind lots of foliage, but nevertheless we could see them through the binoculars, and they were The Chick's first ever Leopards!! He was thrilled.
We still did not see any Dassies or Klippies either at Masorini or Erfplaas, but we saw plenty of general game............Hippo, Crocs, Buffalo, Zebra, Reedbuck, Impala, Baboon and Kudu.
Sadly we saw another recently dead Ellie, which was in the river bed near Letaba camp, but hopefully this one had died of natural causes!!!
We also saw a dead Leguaan which was a victim of roadkill, and we also saw a live one just a few metres on, so we presumed it was the mate of the dead one.
We saw a lovely family of Ostriches at Rhidonda Pan.............Mom Dad and several chicks.................they were so cute.
Then it was time to leave and return home, to cook curry and rice, followed by the obligatory Amarula.
We mused on our mixed blessings, and wondered what next week would bring us, when we returned to paradise!!