Squatting at Maloutswa waterhole
We decided that the next day would be spent at the Maloutswa waterhole. Until almost mid-day we had the place entirely to ourselves and experienced one of the most magnificent spectacles of our entire holiday. All morning a diverse variety of game wandered down to the water, drank and left: Eland, zebra, kudu, wildebeest, impala, warthog, waterbuck, giraffe, a variety of birds, a pair of jackal.
Stepping out for water
Then, from stage right, appeared an enormous herd of elephant. At least sixty, this time to drink and frolic, roll in the mud, squirt water over themselves. Tiny calves struggling to control their trunks, kneeling on the banks to reach the water. It simply went on and on, with squealing and trumpeting, stomach rumbling. Each time we thought it was tapering off, more would appear from the bushes. We had it all to ourselves.
Okay folks, lets see if we can empty this dam -- SHLURP together, NOW !
Then as the herd moved off towards the car parking we set off to watch them sand bathing.
As they finally disappeared, we headed back to the hide to collect our things for the return to camp. But it was only the intermission. Again, from stage right, another herd of perhaps forty elephant appeared. The entire performance was repeated, frolicking, mud-rolling, trumpeting, rumbling, spraying. The most comical was a tiny calf pushed off the bank by a slightly older calf, tumbling into the water. With a quick heave of its trunk under the baby’s bum, the mother pushed it back to safety.
As the last of this herd disappeared into the bushes and tranquility returned to the waterhole, the first human visitors arrived to share the hide with us. On the principle that anyone at a game park telling you that you have just missed a spectacular sighting (or anyone telling you that you could have saved 20% on the new set of tyres you bought if only you had spoken to them) should be executed without benefit of trial, we were silent on what we had just seen but suggested that if they wait a herd of elephant may wander past in the late afternoon. We then left for a leisurely drive back to camp along the banks of the Limpopo. Throughout the shrubbery along this trail we found dispersed the herds we had seen.
Amply rewarded for our patience at the waterhole, we settled down to supper, recharging camera batteries and transferring overflowing memory cards onto computer. We prepared to make an early start for the next leg of our holiday, six days in Kruger, based in the north, an area unfamiliar to both of us. The plan was to enter at Pafuri and make our way to Punda Maria for our first two nights in Kruger.
The Kruger report will have to wait a couple of weeks as we are off to Swaziland - Hlani and Mlilwane.