Day 102 (Feb 10th)
Today we were going with our friends to Mopani, for an overnight stay. Elsa had booked it all, and we were to be staying in a unit overlooking the dam.
After we had packed both vehicles, we set off up the H9 and soon turned off up the H14 towards Mopani.
We had not gone very far, before we saw a beautiful Tawny, sitting on a dead branch not too far away from the road. It posed quite nicely for photos, but when Klystron started up the beemer's engine, the poor thing got such a fright, and nearly fell off it's perch!!
We then saw very little until we reached Mopani, except a lone Ellie, who took no notice of us, as he was more intent on eating his breakfast!!
We checked in and went to our unit, which lived up to expectations with the magnificent view of the dam.
It was a three-bed unit, two with aircon and one with a fan, a dining area, a lounge area, and an indoor kitchen.
Elsa made us some lekker tuna, tomato and cheese rolls, and we sat and relaxed, deciding our plan of action.
We decided to do a late afternoon drive aroung the S49/S50/Capricorn loop, taking in Thiongonyeni waterhole, as Elsa and Klystron had seen Cheetah there on their last visit, and I have also seen in other TRs that Cheetah have often been spotted at the waterhole.
We arrived at the junction of the S49/S50 to find a large group of Egyptian Geese on the pond, and a huge Ellie in the distance, and another one a bit further back.
Neither seemed too worried to see us, and let us on our way, after we had taken a few photos.
We then saw a European Roller who was in the road, picking up his supper!! He soon flew back into a nearby tree, and began hungrily devouring his prey.
Then we saw a beautiful Carmine Bee-Eater, who took off before I could get a decent photo, but then returned, and flew off agin and returned several times. It was not on my side of the car, so I could not get the best of shots, but did my best!!!
We drove on towards the waterhole, and Elsa suddenly said "Stop....what's that?"
What a clever lady...........she had spotted a lone Tsessebe!! The sun was streaming into my eyes, and I could not see very well, so I just snapped a photo, and as you will see it's not the best!!
Then nearby we saw an Amur Falcon, a first for us in Kruger, though we have seen them before in KZN.
It was quite far away, so I have cropped the photo, and it has reduced the quality, so many apologies!!
We eventually approached the waterhole to find a large herd of Zebbies and Wilderbeest, but no more Tsessebes or Eland or Roan, which are sometimes to be found there..............and no Cheetah either.
By now time was getting away from us, so we continued around the loop, and headed back to Mopani.
As we approached the turning, we saw a kombi reversing down the road, pull out and start to move slowly towards Letaba.
As we turned towards the camp, Elsa spotted something in the road which then ran into the long grass. She said it was "Cheetah shaped" , but by now it was 6.25pm, and as you know I am phobic about missing the gate closing, so very reluctantly we drove up to the camp, never sure what we might have missed!!
The sun was setting as we got back, and we sat with our sundowners, and watched the sky change to an amazing colour, before darkness finally descended.
Then it was time for Klystron and Dungy to get the braai going, while Elsa and I watched the Fireflies darting about near the water, and listened to the Lions roaring in the distance.
As we looked up, that African sky did not disappoint with it's miriad of twinkling stars!!!!
All of a sudden, I saw my first ever shooting star, and I was so excited I forgot to wish!!!!
As we sat there, I thought to myself "Surely life doesn't get much better than this. Sharing a braai with two wonderful people, in the most amazing place on God's earth.?"
(Well a Cheetah sighting would have made it perfect............but you can't have it all!!