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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:47 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 8, 15 March 2013, continue

At one of the river crossing we spotted a Grey Heron on a dead tree.

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Not far and we spotted a lifer: a Violet-backed Starling! We were so excited and I forgot to take a picture when he was sitting in full view, then I only took this picture among the leaves a bit later…

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Still excited with the Starling and before we knew it we were surrounded by Ellies again on the narrow dirt road. They were not happy to see us, we were in the middle of the small herd. The Ellies started trumpeting and started running around in all directions and a calf headed our way. My heart stopped and I knew a mother or sister Ellie will follow the little one. Luckily before the calf reached the road he made a 180 degree turn back to his Mother and all the Ellies ran off into the Mopanies in different directions. We drove off immediately, not wanting to wait around for an Angry Daddy Ellie…

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Towards the end of the river drive Skillie spotted a lifer for us, a Sharp’s Greysbokkie!

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At the end of the S52 we turned left and stopped on the Shinwedzi bridge where had a change to stretch our legs again between the yellow lines. It’s hard to imagine the strength of the water that caused this damage to the bridge.

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We turned around on the other side and drove the little river loop just south of the bridge. There we spotted some Buffalo in the riverbed, but the view was a bit obstructed by the debris left by the January flood.

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We headed back down South on the H1-6. The tar road was in the process of being repaired and debris from the road was visible far into the veld.

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A few Zebra did not mind the destruction of the road.

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This debris is on the Western side of the H1-5 with the riverbank some 100 meters East of the road.

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Day 8, to continue... Buff road block next!

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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 8, 15 March 2013, continue

About 6 kilometers South from the Shingwedzi bridge we were stopped by huge Buffalo roadblock.

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The herd was on their way to the river. It was very strange just being able to see the Buffs crossing the road and not the rest of the herd and they just kept coming and coming! Once in the riverbed they spread out along the narrow stream of water.

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Surrounded by the thick Mopanie curtain again we did not see much down the H1-6 until Nkokodzi waterhole where we first just saw a few trunks and then who the trucks belonged to.

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At Olifantsbad pan we had a snack while watching a Brown Snake-eagle perched on a dead tree.

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It was a long drive back and we did not see much, I should rather say: Skillie did not see much… because I fell asleep…

When we got to the Mopanie turnoff the Ellie cow and calf from the day before were there again and they were enjoying a mud bath. Again we heard the rest of the herd in the Mopanies on the other side of the road, but we made sure they would not surprise us.

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We stopped at Mopani and supported the excellent restaurant again for an early dinner. Back at camp we made a camp fire to sit at and reminisce about the great day we had. Roger came around for a chat again and it’s great to experience his love for nature and the Kruger Park. His very proud of his Tsendze!

End of day 8
Tomorrow we take another very long drive!

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Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:21 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 9, 16 March 2013

After again listening to the Lions roaring all night long in an Eastern direction from camp, we thought let us go and drive the only road that leads to the East, to Stapelkop Dam.

We were out the gate as Roger unlocked it and at the Mooiplaas Picnic spot turnoff the Swainson's Spurfowl just made sure we knew in what direction to go.

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We turned off towards the Shipandani Hide to our favorite causeway, but not far from it a Jeep came chasing from the front. When we got the causeway there were no birds and no crocs. We were very disappointed and believed the Jeep must have chased everything away!

We drove on to the Pioneer Hide and on the way spotted a Mongoose family that just woke up and came out of their den to warm up in the early morning sun. These were our first Mongooses of the trip and of I was Super happy to see some Mongoosies!

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At Pioneer Hide we had our coffee and rusks while watching the Hippo and Crocs on the other side of the dam. The Pioneer dam was quite full and made for some nice scenery.

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A Jacana was walking on the water plants looking for some insects.

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A pair of Egyptian Geese was doing synchronized flying and aimed straight for the camera.

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After spending almost a hour at the hide all by ourselves, we took the road East towards Stapelkop Dam at the end of the S146. Not too far and we stopped by the Zebra brigade.

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Down the road a beautiful European Roller, yes, I don’t have enough pics of the Rollers yet and still go click-click for every one.

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The remainder of the long 16km road was very very quite. Nearing Stapelkop dam on the side of a koppie we saw this beautiful Boabab tree.

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Then we saw a CAT, not the ones keeping us awake every night, but the mechanical type, where the road turns to the left.

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Stapelkop Dam is quite big and was very full. A pair of Egyptian Geese disappeared behind the Mopanies next to the dam and a Fish Eagle flew over. We spend quite some time at the dam, but nothing came for a drink.

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A few spoors in the mud were evidence that there is life out here.

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We went to look for Joubert’s Grave on the other side of the dam, but could not find it. Just as we turned around a Sharp’s Grysbok bolted across the road in full view and I got a single photo as it disappeared into the Mopanies. The Grysbok made the long drive worth it, our second one ever!

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Day 9, to continue...

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Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 9, 16 March 2013, continue

It was a loooong quite 16km drive back down the S146. Along the way we found plenty evidence that this part of the world is not totally deserted.

Some cat spoor.

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Some Ellie spoor.

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Some feathers leftover from a catch.

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Nearing the Pioneer Dam we were happy to see a few regulars...

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It was only 11pm and we decided to drive the S48 Tsendze Loop when we got back to the H1-6 and enjoy the views over the Tsendze River for one last time.

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Along the way we found some more spoor. It;s so interesting to see who's been where...

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Fine combing the riverbed we spotted a new birdie and I think it’s a Common Greenshank. :hmz:

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High above a Fish Eagle we also fine combing the riverbed for something to eat.

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It was a quite drive along the Tsendze River, but a beautiful drive. At the end of the loop we decided it was not too late to drive to the Giriyondo Border Post, since the H15 was just across the road. It was past midday and very hot. Again not much along the way, except for a few vehicles that obviously crossed the border.

We stopped at the Makhadzi picnic spot where we made a nice lunch. What a beautiful little place hidden amongt the huge trees!

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We were welcomed by the talented caretaker (I forgot his name :mrgreen: ) who made sure we had hot water and a skottelbraai. He still makes the beautiful recycled ornaments and says that he hates to sit still and keeps himself busy all the time.

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At the Tourist Information Centre (right next to the picnic spot) we got some great info on the area and the Makhadzi Picnic Spot that used to be a Military Campsite many years ago.

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Phillip1 shared some great info on Makhadzi on another thread and he quoted:

"Makhadzi picnic spot used to be utilized by the South African Military as a campsite. In 2003 the military camp moved to Phalaborwa and the Makhadzi picnic spot was born. One of the attendants at Makhadzi, Lombard, stated that he had been present at Makhadzi since it was converted from army camp to picnic spot and confirms that the tourist thoroughfare is not prolific, but can get pretty busy during the dry season when more tourists venture into Mozambique.
Lying 28 kilometers north from Letaba Rest Camp and 37 km south of Mopani Rest Camp as well as being situated on a cul-de-sac for tourists not travelling to Mozambique, the picnic spot is often deserted with only the game rangers in residence. Most tourists who visit the site are on their way to the Giriyondo border post to Mozambique 12 km away".

After spending a long time at the tranquil oasis listening to a Grey-headed Bush-shrike while sitting underneath the huge trees we drove onwards to the border post.

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It was mid afternoon by the time we turned around outside the border post. It was a quite drive east, but coming back the bush came back to life...

Day 9, to continue...

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


Last edited by Super Mongoose on Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:16 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 9, 16 March 2013, continue

We turned around at the border post and headed down the rocky road. A Korhaan disappeared into the bush and a few Impala ran off as we neared.

The road follow the Lebombo Mountain range not far from the border post, everything covered in a Mopanie blanket.

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About half way between the border post and picnic spot we spot and Ellie in the narrow riverbed. Happy to see some more animals on this piece of road after the dry spell, we stopped and took pictures of the lone Ellie in the riverbed behind some vegetation.

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Admiring the Ellie down there to the left, we did not pay any attention to our surroundings. Just as we pulled off there stands an Ellie right in front of us in the road! The Ellie got a fright and ran off a couple of steps and Skillie stopped because there was an Ellie in the road1 Then the Ellie decided since we stopped we must be a threat and turn around charging us! Skillie did not see the Ellie turning around, he was looking for more Ellies on the other side of the road. I thought Skillie had everything under control and kept taking photos (I did not freeze up this time, after all, I’m getting used to Ellies charging us.) By the time Skillie saw the Ellie he was only a few steps away and started trumpeting! Skillie pulled off leaving the Ellie in a dust could, we did not look back. We got away again unharmed, but I was starting to believe that Ellies don’t like us...

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(the rest of the Ellies pics are all blurred..)

Nearing the picnic spot we saw this strange couple, an Impala and a Tsetssebe.

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Just before the picnic spot we saw a small herd of Zebra drinking water.

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A Steenbok disappeared so quickly when we stopped there was no time for picture. It seems like the animals are used to vehicles, but as soon as we stopped they ran off.

At the picnic spot turnoff we got another Ellie. The caretaker told us we’ve just missed an Ellie strolling through the picnic area eating grass when we arrived earlier. Maybe this was the same one, but he was so chilled out and did not pay us any attention at all.

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The drive back to the H1-6 was quite except for a few Buffalo at Malopenyana Waterhole just before the t-junction. Then the one thing you dread when on holiday: my camera’s battery gone flat and even the second and third battery was flat! What happened I don’t know…

Back on the H1-6 it was quite again and with the road elevated a bit above the surrounding area, we could only see a luminous green ocean of Mopanies! We saw a few Ellies and Buffs along the way and Zebra crossing the road just before the H14. But with no battery power, no more pics for the day… I was so upset..

End of day 9.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in the park and we will leave Tsendze for one more night at Mopani…

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:02 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 10, 17 March 2013

Waking up again drowsy after listening to the Lions all night long, we were sad that is was time to pack up and leave Tsendze. So we were dragging our feet and first made a huge breakfast before breaking up the camp. It didn’t take too long and by 10am we were ready to go, but first we had to make sure all the “visitors” were out of hams way could not be ran over.

A Suddan Platted Lizard or also called a Rough Plated Lizard (a friend that knows her reptiles helped me to ID him correctly) were hiding under the trailer and were in no hurry to leave his new home.

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The Sudan plated lizard's dorsal surface is covered with distinctly “plated” scales, while their underside is very smooth in comparison. The lizard has a base coloration comprised of varying degrees of brown, while their bellies and throats are a creamy white. These lizards have very stout necks, and unusually thick tails. Sudan plated lizards generally attain a total length of approximately 18 to 25 inches (with even larger ones having been reported) so, coupled with heavy bodies, they are definitely not small reptiles. Unlike many other lizards, the Sudan plated lizard’s tail is not much longer than its snout-to-vent length. Hatchlings are approximately six inches in total length.

Sudan plated lizards rarely bite. Somewhat shy by nature, they usually run and hide (in a blur) when startled or irritated. These lizards are diurnal, meaning they are active during the daylight hours. They can be seen foraging, basking, and even digging a burrow. Sudan plated lizards are primarily insectivorous, but will also ingest some fruits and flowers, so in that sense they are technically omnivores.

A Shongololo also took up residence underneath the trailer and had to be helped on him way.

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Then a Glossy Starling came to look for an easy breakfast, a few worms and a spider ran out from underneath the groundsheet, but did not make their destination. Again it was very interesting to see the Starlings recognizing when the ground sheet is lifted. At Satara last year one caught a Red Roman that was hiding under the ground sheet.

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Then it was the sad time to say goodbye to Rodger and Elena. They were the perfect host and kept and bathroom spots less! They came to chat with everyone every night to see if all was well and to share their love of nature! Roger and Elana asked me to tell all the Mites about Tsendze and promised they will have the best time ever! Thank you Rodger and Elana for everything and making our stay so memorable!

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The last views of Tsendze before we left.

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It was say too early to check into Mopani for our last night in the Park, so we decided to take the long way round and see who is at Mooiplaas Waterhole and at Tihongonyeni Waterhole for the last time.

At Mooiplaas we were pleasantly surprised.

On the reservoir’s edge were a dozen or more Cattle Egret and two Egyptian Geese.

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To the right we spotted two Secretary Birds, our second pair for the trip.

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Then out of nowhere a Warthog family stood up from the tall grass and made their way across the clearing. This only our second Warthogs for the trip, so a very happy sighting.

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After spending some time at Mooiplaas Waterhole, we drove on. At the Nshawa Marchland we spotted a few Tsetsebe.

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Day 10, to continue…

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:23 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 10, 17 March 2013, continue

At Tihongonyeni Waterhole, aka our Massai Mara, there were animals everywhere! Large mixed herds, plenty birds, but this time there were Ellies in between! This was the first time we got the Ellies at the waterhole and not on their way there or leaving. The perfect highlight for our last full day in the Park! Now the Mites might think that we’ve seen enough Ellies during this trip and with three Ellies charging us, but NO, we love seeing the Ellies and from the thousand or so we’ve seen, only three was in a bad mood…

Arriving at the Tihongonyeni Waterhole we were greeted by the usual welcoming committee of stripes.

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After all the time we've spend at Tihongonyeni over the past 9 days, we got the Ellies there! There were 7 huge Ellie Bulls just enjoying their time at the waterhole with all the animals and birds around.

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During the last 10 days the summer birds become less and less in the area returning to Europe to spend winter there. There were a few White Storks still around the Massai Mara. Our visit to Tsendze was just timed right before the summer visitors all left again on the long journey.

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...too many pics now, Day 10, to continue...

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Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:22 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
:hello: to all the Mites!

Back at the PC atfer a crazeeeeee happy and silly season!

We we're lucky to go away for a bit of stunning birding and had heaps of family and friends over for all the festive celebrations!



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Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: First time at Tsendze
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:21 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:46 am
Posts: 1967
Location: Pretoria North
Day 10, 17 March 2013, continue

Back on our way to Mopani after spending a great last time at our "Massai Mara".

Not much to see during the midday heat around 40 degrees, it was a quiet drive back South.

But then not for from Mopani on the H1-6, more Ellies having the time of their lives in the very narrow Shipandani creek. I'm sure this is the herd that gave us a big scare the other day!

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Arriving at Mopani in the midday heat it just made sense to have cold refreshments in the air conditioner cocktail lounge followed by a delicious meal.

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Later that afternoon at our bungalow sitting on the veranda we had a few guests over.

A friend that knows her lizards from lizards helped me again to ID these guys.

A Giant Plated Lizard.

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The Giant Plated Lizard is found in the northern regions of the subcontinent, in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, with one subspecies in Namibia and southern Angola. The like open, rocky, dry habitats. They are omnivorous, consuming a fair amount of plant matter leaves, flowers, and fruit in addition to insects , spiders, millipedes, scorpions, smaller lizards and even young tortoises.

A few Common Striped Skinks.

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The species is widespread in southern Africa, including extreme southern Angola and Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and parts of central and eastern South Africa. It feeds on a variety of insects and other arthropods, particularly beetles, but also vegetable matter, fruit and carrion. It forages on rocks, in trees and on the ground.

A Black-backed Puffback.

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Now Mopani only has two bungalows with a river view and when we checked out on our first night before camping at Tsendze for more than a week, we asked if there was even a slight a possibility that we can have a river view when we return a week later.

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End of day 10, our last day to follow...

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


Last edited by Super Mongoose on Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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