Day 2 – 15/02/2012
We left camp at 5:40. It was heavily overcast, which made it impossible to take pictures so early in the morning. The silhouette of a sleepy baboon in a tree was the first to greet us as we left the gate.
These Southern Ground Hornbills were just waking up in the tree top.
On our way to Sirheni (H1.7) a few Giraffes were wondering around, too far for a decent picture.
Then we came to this lonely, but beautiful guy.
We saw a breeding herd of Ellies in the far distance, and although I don’t appreciate them too close, that was too far to appreciate properly.
Just look at the dust on this Terrapin’s back! Poor thing! He was not even close to water, and looked completely lost!
A much closer Ellie on the S56.
This poor Impie is in dire need of a few Oxpeckers!
The Woodland Kingfishers’ calls were heard all over the Park, wherever we were driving, but you could not always see them.
Not a good picture at all of the African Hoopoe, but this was the only pic we could get of one of them. (Apologies for the quality.)
Due to bad light (it was very cloudy), this beauty is almost just a silhouette.
Close to Sirheni a small herd of about 20 Buffaloes were grazing lazily, with a little Steenbuck dashing into the long grass, clearly not used to visitors. It needs to be mentioned that we found the roads to be very quiet during February. So much so that coming across another vehicle was a sighting to us.
There were no people at Babalala Picnic Site. A few workers were busy cutting (hacking) the long grass to make the place bearable. At 9:45 it was already very hot (27 degrees C), but it felt worse due to the high humidity.
On the H1.7 this lonely Buffalo was seeking some shade, but all he could find was long grass.
At the Boyela Waterhole 6 Zebras were quenching their thirst. The sides of the road were decorated with lots of pretty flowers.
On the H1.7, just before the Mpolongo Loop, a very lone Ellie was taking a rest in the shade.
A few kilometres further on, another one definitely had a mud bath. In a distance 4 Giraffes were looking for nice, young leaves.
About 2 kilometres to the south of the R52 turnoff, we found this beautiful juvenile Martial Eagle (or that is what I thought it was, please correct me if I am wrong).
About 1 kilometre further, an adult Martial Eagle.
Near Joao Waterhole, 4 Buffaloes were grazing, but you could hardly see the rest of them in the long grass.
It was quiet at Red Rocks, with 2 beautiful Egyptian Geese on the dam wall at Red Rocks Waterhole.
Close to Bateleur, on the S52, this beautiful Tawny Eagle (am I right?) draw our attention.
At the Rooibosrand Dam we found this Green-backed Heron and amazingly beautiful Wattled and Red-winged Starlings (please help with the IDs).
There were also a few Impies, Warties, a Hippo with a baby, lots of birds and ducks, but all too far for pictures. The dam was full of water an almost covered with algae.
At Silvervis Dam, we only saw one lonely Buffalo.
There were no birds in sight. You could hardly see the water due to the dense vegetation.
On the S52 a lonely Giraffe was wondering around,
and at the Gubyane Waterhole Impies and Zebras were quenching their thirst with the nice, cool water.
On the H1-6, more or less 50 m north of the S52, two Nyala ewes were dashing into the bush, too quick for any hope of a picture.
Although it might not look like many sightings, we have enjoyed this day immensely! The beautiful scenery, the (to us) new roads never travelled before, new places visited (i.e. Bateleur, Sirheni, all the dams, etc.), we had a wonderful day.
We dodged the sun in our chalet’s kitchen area, and tried to cool off with an ice-cold ice-filled glass of wine, while we had a retrospection of the day’s sightings. After a lovely braai, we headed for the shower and another well deserved night’s rest.