After exploring the S50 river road and heading back in the direction of the Shingwedzi camp's back gate, we turned right down toward the S135 causeway to see if there were any activities. A lonely elephant was approaching the causeway very slowly via the river as he was munching away. He appeared to be calm and minding his own business, but as he came closer, it appeared that he could be sick or something wrong when looking at his body. Later that afternoon he was seen opposite the restaurant we spent most of the day.
I can recall a situation we had found ourselves in during our Dec'11 trip. We were approaching the S135 causeway from the H1-7 tar road's direction, a 4 km drive through mopani trees. As one approached the causeway you first have to go down a steep hill and then a sharp turn to the right with high sandbanks both sides. As we drove slowly around the bent, we had to urgently brake, put car in reverse and get out of there.
Fortunately, there were no cars behind us
. The reason was: a herd of large elephant was coming up the road and we nearly got too close for comfort, but luckily they were relatively calm and not agitated or frightened by our sudden presence. We kept on reversing with fast approaching elephants uphill hoping no cars were coming from behind. So we kept reversing and stopped hoping the ellies moved into the bushes. None of this sort, and they kept coming, so we reversed further and so the process repeated itself until we decided it was better to turn around and make the 6km detour back to camp. If the ellies were irritated by our sudden presence, it could have been quite scary or nasty event
We gave the lonely elephant its space and observed a Three-banded plover in the water busy taking a bath.
A Marsh sandpiper was also looking for some food in the shallow water.
We spent some time on the causeway and enjoyed the beautiful music of the Woodland kingfisher sitting on the branch above the water's edge.
Earlier the day, whilst travelling from Punda Maria to Shingwedzi camp, we saw Saddle-billed stork, Woolly-necked stork and White stork together. Later the day, we were adding to the variety as a Marabou was grooming itself next to the causeway.
With the Marobou th 4th stork sighting the day, the 5th one was sitting on the other side of the causeway, in the tree - Open-billed stork. The previous year I got my first Open-billed stork sighting from the a lookout point on the other side of Red Rocks and then again at Mpondo dam. It was one of my aims to get a nice close-up shot of these beautiful birds, which I managed to get. In my next post, I will share a nice close-up one.
As it was getting late, we drove back to camp and one have a view from the causeway of this majestic Fever tree.
The evening we were having supper at the restaurant and as had see what scary reptiles were walking around, we decided that we each need to have a torch. That large monitor we saw earlier might just once again cross our path and with those long nails, I rather prefer to be safe, let alone what other creepy crawlies might surprise us on this extremely hot day. It was another great day, although no predator sightings, we enjoyed the beauty of the scenery around and sighting we had enjoyed.
The next day, we were exploring the S56 Mphongolo and the R52 Red Rocks roads where we had some more great landscape and bird sightings...to be continued