Day 7 Morning walk Letaba
Once again the early alarm blared me awake at 03h30am to wake up and get ready for the morning walk. At that time of the morning as I gently prod the SO to wake up I feel the curses flying my way for waking her up early...
A quick check in my brothers room and there is nothing. I checked the living area and he spent the night on the couch. No problem as there is a bathroom conveniently located next to the entrance for night time ablutions (and day time bathroom needs). A guest update and it seems as though we had another guest, a bat was flying around in the living area that night and it had an unfortunate run-in with the fan. My brother decided to move the poor fella outside as he seemed to have lost the battle of life
, but a few minutes later he was gone. Hopefully only a knockout and he is flying around Letaba as I type this.
Everyone was awake and sleepily we got ready and off to reception to report for the walk. We were joined by two other visitors and our guides are Saskia and ?. My apologies as I am not sure about our second guide's name.
It was a little chilly that morning and on the open vehicle it was freezing. Our drive to the walking area takes us down the S131 and on the way in the early morning dark we come across a hyena den.
Trying to stay warm...
Little one peeking out...
Sunrise over Kruger.
We drove on and were rewarded by an nice sunrise. We arrived at the get-out spot, and parked next to the road. While it is nice to drive down a no-entry road there is something silly about getting out at the side of the road in Kruger.
Safety briefing again, much like the safety video/display when flying, even if you have flown hundreds of times it is always advisable to pay attention and make sure you know where you stand, and off we go.
There are elephant tracks that lead off to the "other" side of the road that the guides normally walk. We are going to new territory. We follow the elephant tracks for a little while until we come across some bufalo tracks.
Checking the other side...
It is fresh tracks and we cut through the bush hoping we "run" into either of the animals. The guides senses are on high alert trying to listen to any sound that might indicate where the animals are. We are also advised to let them know if we hear anything, a crack of a branch or animal noises. We come across a mud hole, which seems to have been the object of desire for the bufalo. No one home though.
We arrive at a nice termite mound and have our break for breakfast. Once again no luck but a nice walk. It is starting to get warm and we are greatful for the break.
Breakfast of champions...
We return the way we came from and finally...some luck. In the bush ahead we see shapes that does not look natural. Three big grey mounds moving quickly through the bush.
We watched the three elephants move across us in a silent and eerily quick and graceful way. It seems like they are sliding from right to left and not really walking. I enjoyed the encounter, even if it only lasted a minute or two at most.
We moved on and crossed the path of more tracks and experienced some of the smaller things, spider nest and spider.
We arrived back at the vehicle and I am satisfied. My first experience of big game on foot. A big thank you to our guides!
We took a longer route home as our walk was relatively short, due to less than expected sightings I think. We drove down the S131 and the S96, Shilawuri Loop. We come across a big breeding herd of elephants at a hill slowly making their way across the road. We are parked in the perfect position to enjoy the elphants crossing close by us.
We have a very nice and close encounter with the matriarch that is a little upset by our presence and we are asked to refrain from taking pictures for a little while as she eyes us suspiciously.
Finally she decided we are not worth her time and she crosses with the rest of the herd and moves into the bush. We drive on back to Letaba, now fully satisfied after a great morning walk and sightings.
We take a stroll back to the house and arrive back for breakfast and to relax. The conveniently located bathroom is visited for a post walk break.The Uninvited....
We have had a few uninvited guests on this trip. There was the frog that decided the wall in Crocodile Bridge was just right for him. Then the hornbill, squirrels and the mouse in Satara. And in Letaba we had the bat visit the previous night.
Nice cosy spot...
The bathroom that is so conveniently placed at the entrance was visited by everyone that morning. As I was taking drinks to the hide I heard a commotion from the kitchen area as voices were being raised and swearing was commenced. I didn't think much of it as my father and brother seems to have episodes where loud "conversations" are the order of the day so I thought they were discussing the fact that the milk was not replaced in the fridge or something to that effect.
I will try to play out the scene of the next few minutes.Scene:
Man walk into bathroom and relieves himself. As he is waiting for every drop to drop...he spots a little piece of animal dung on the floor. He wonders what animal could have left the dung and thinks back to bat the previous evening that had disturb his sleep and knocked itself out on the fan. He gazes up towards the ceiling at the grass thatch thinking the bat might be hanging there for the day. Nothing, but something catches his eye over the window. It is an animal of some sort, it is longish and thin, small head with two eyes. Man takes a second to registers...SNAKE
. Man flushes toilet and exits.
Man 1: "There is a @£&%$%& snake in the @£&%$%& bathroom!"
Man 2: "Why are you swearing like that? What? Noooo!"
Man 2 goes and has a look for himself. He returns.
Man 2: "There is a @£&%$%& snake in the @£&%$%& bathroom!"
Man 1: "I told you so!"
Man 3 returns from outside to see what the "fight" is about and to try and ask the others not to spoil their last day in Kruger.
Man 3: "Why all the shouting?"
Man 1 and 2: "There is a @£&%$%& snake in the @£&%$%& bathroom!"
Man 3: "No."
Man 3 checks to see, unbelieving of such a story. Man 3 sees the snake and remembers he was in the bathroom not an hour ago. Man 3 feels the urge to go to the bathroom again, but seeing as the location is not ideal at this moment in time he wills the urge away and retreats.
Man 3 to Man 1 and 2: "There is a @£&%$%& snake in the @£&%$%& bathroom!"
Man 1 and 2: "We know, we told you so."
Man 1,2 and 3 get their heart rates under control, checking every few seconds that there really is a snake and decide someone has to tell the others.
Man 3 goes to the hide, checking every tree and every few metres for more snakes. Man 3 enters hide and goes by telling the others, of which one is deathly afraid of snakes, that we have one in the bathroom.
Man 3: "You know that list of animals, what we have seen this year? We can cross off another species...African Rock Python"
Woman 1: "Where, When, How?"
Man 3: "In the bathroom in the main house."
Woman 2: "Whaaattt??? NOOOO!!!"
Woman 1: "No way, stop lying. I will check this myself."
Man 3 and Woman 1 walks to the house to check it out, Woman 2 reluctantly follows as curiosity always seems to kill the cat...
Woman 1 checks the bathroom.
Woman 1: "There is a @£&%$%& snake in the @£&%$%& bathroom."
Man 3: "I told you so."
Woman 2 plucks up the courage, checks the bathroom, sees the snake and proceeds to make high shrilly noises and backs away quickly to the farthest part of the house while still keeping an eye our for the entrance of the bathroom, in case the snake decides to have a human snack and decides to leave the bathroom...
Man 1-My brother
Man 2- My Father
Man 3- Me
Woman 1-My mother
So there we have our uninvited guest. A beautiful python that decided the bathroom is the place to be. We alerted reception to the snake and they said they would send someone to remove him from the house. In the mean time more staff are hearing about the snake and came and investigate. The reaction are always roughly the same as ours, except the ones that scream out when my father decides to tickle them, as if it was the snake that slithered into their arms. The general reaction then is a loud scream and a run to the outside.
The snake was safely removed from the bathroom and heads back to the bush, hopefully terrified of the house in future and hopefully to live out his days in peace and quiet.
He is in there...slithering away...
After that excitement we have a rest on a scorching day (35C plus) and take a nap as well. No drive this afternoon as we are off early in the morning and the combined snake episode and early walk has tired us out. The fact that the next day is our last in Kruger also plays its part. In the afternoon the SO and I decide to take a walk in camp and have a dip in the pool. On the way to the pool we spot an elephant bull with beautiful tusks having a feed on the fence. Back to the house I go for the camera and to let everyone know.
SO with elephant in the background...
Once again people are enjoying being close to the elephant with only the, what at the time looks small and flimsy, fence seperating us and the elephant. He is calm and relaxed and he is giving campers on the fence a braai of a lifetime!
A quick swim for me, walk back to check that the elephant is still there and back to the house to try and enjoy our last braai in Kruger. We have a great time reliving our trip around the braai and wishing we had more time.
After dinner and a little relaxing when we went to bed for our last night, tomorrow would be our drive home.