Hi Stoffel, just caught up again. Just love your Sharpe's Grysbok!
I have seen quite a number of Sharpe's Grysbok in the park. My first one was between Olifants and Balule on the S92 - way back in 1989. I could hardly believe my eys as I always thought that you only find them in the northern part of the park. Till I learned they are associated with mopani veld. But the one on the photo is the best that I have ever seen a Sharpe's. It appeared to be very used to vehicles and kept on grazing about 3 - 4 metres from our vehicle.Wednesday, 16 May
Once again we left camp at about 7:30. Seems we just cannot get away earlier. Well, my days of setting an alarm clock in order to be up and about at gate opening time, is something of the past. It was so nice to lie in bed (in our tent) and listen to the early morning bird sounds, get up - make a cup of coffee and enjoy it peacefully with a rusk or two and watch (and smile) at all the people who frantically wants to make it to the front of the queue to lead the procession out of camp. By the time they have left I have the whole ablution just for myself. By the way - even if I am right in front of the queue at the gate, the other vehicles will pass me during the first few seconds as we drive at ± 20 kph. And I hardly ever hear of people (sometimes -yes) who saw something spectacular that time of the morning. Enough said of my laziness to get up early in the morning.
We decided to drive to Tshanga again. Before crossing the Nkokodzi we saw mommy hyena again (but not the little one), and on the opposite side of the road two other members of her clan.
On our way to Tshanga we rather saw very little game that day compared to our previous trip on Sunday. Well, I saw another Sharpe's at least just before we turned of to go uphill for the last part of the road to the lookout.
After enjoying our traditional cup of coffee and a sandwich at Tshanga (it was a bit coolish that morning) we took the road back to camp, but this time following the Shingwedzi river on the northern side. Another thing that we hardly ever do anymore in the park is to prepare breakfast/brunch at picnic spots or day visitors' areas. We loved to do it. Is it age creeping onto to us that we prefer to prepare our sandwiches, cereals and yoghurt, fruit etc before we leave camp? Sometimes we will just stop in the shade of a nice tree and enjoy our meal in the vehicle while listening to and smelling the bush.
Travelling back on the northern side of the river we saw much more than going to Tshanga on the south side. We saw hundreds of impala, lots of buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, ellies, zebra, kudu, a few warthog (of which we did not see many around Shingwedzi) and another 2 Sharpe's.
Are they not beautiful (of ugliness) especially the younger ones with their white moustaches?
On the entrance to Shingwedzi we saw the usual clowns of the bush too. It is so seldom that you will travel this road without seeing either baboons or monkeys (sometimes both). I tried to get a picture of "say no evil, hear no evil & see no evil", but my models were not playing their part.
They were rather interested in improving their shares with daddy.
It looks as if the little one on the left is looking whether he'll be a worthy successor to daddy one day.
After our rather successful return trip to camp, we decided to do the northern side of the river again up to Red Rocks in the afternoon. But we did not see nearly as many game as we saw earlier the day. But returning on the main tar road (seeing our hyena friends again) we saw our first python in the park. And it was a huge one. I have seen one python in nature before. That was many years ago when I was still living in Tzaneen. But this one was a big (and thick) mommy. Yes, I reckon it was a female because they tend to grow much bigger than the males. We saw some vehicles next to the road (at one of the lookouts next to the river) and was informed that it was a very big python in a tree. Apparently some squirrels "gave it away" with their alarming noises. Unfortunately it was late afternoon, the light was not good, she was curled around the stem of the tree in a very shady area and it was too far for my basic photographic equipment to take a photo. Nevertheless, I am placing my best (of a lot of lousy shots) here. Hope you can see it.
My day was made with my first ever python in Kruger. I don't know what the English tiltle of David Paynter's book is. I have the Afrikaans version (Die Krugerwildtuin in Woord en Beeld). Before we left home I read that the author has seen his one and only python in nature very near to where we saw this one. David Paynter saw a python on the road to the confluence of the Shingwedzi and Mphongolo rivers.
That night our lion friends (although further away) made us know that they were still around. Oh, I love Shingwedzi.