Still on day 4, 30 Jan'14 travelling from Tamboti to Mopani via Olifants. I took the S93 gravel road and then along the river on the S46 to Letaba for my next stop.
The S93 is well known for its abundance of giraffe and I found one lying with its head up and alert while the others were browsing. Some other general game was spotted along the S93 when I reached the beautiful scenery where the road passes through two trees - the Von Wiellighs Baobab and Leadwood tree. It remains a very special spot with the view of a few years ago when we saw some giraffe in the road reaching for a leaf - such a memorable and rare moment , for me.
The view we enjoyed during our Dec'11 trip.
I reached one of the streams, Mfuleni, which was flowing strongly and some activity attracted my attention. A Green-back heron came flying over from the one side to the other and sit in the shade of a tree scanning the strong flowing water underneath it.
While enjoying the Green-back heron's movements, a Malachite kingfisher flew past and sat on a low hanging branch, my heart skipped a beat from excitement and as I just managed to get the camera to focus, it flew off again.
...But I was not disappointed as I was rewarded with some other action at that time - Mr Hamerkop."Keep that noise levels down, can't you see I am trying to concentrate on catching fish"
- he whispered while giving me the stare."Sorry, I did not mean to cause any disturbance"
- I replied in a soft apologetic tone."You see, it is a lot harder for us to catch fish than to just wading in shallow water stirring the mud with our feet and probing in the water with our bills until a frog moves which will then give their position away when it is tickets for that froggy."
- he educated me."But, Mr Hamerkop, may I ask as to why you are then hammering yourself by struggling to get a small fishy when you can get a nice juicy large froggy?"
- I wondered. "Look, man, I am different to the other birds around, if I may say so myself- for example who got as strong and big head like me? and above all, I can also do some acrobatic manoeuvres with this large beak of mine. Let me share with you my secret, seeing that you appear to be a regular on this route and a bit ignorant."
- he responded with his big head."I guess me, and our forumite friends, will be very much interested to hear this secret and I can assure you, it will be safe with us"
- I replied. "You can share this only with the forumite friends, ok! Well, for me it is like a three course meal, these tasty fishies are like the first course - Hors d'oeuvre before I will go my favourite shallow muddy pool for the main meal, nice juice tadpole after which some desert at another secret spot for some sort of invertebrates. Enough said, I am hungry, but let me first show you my acrobatic manoeuvres- seems you are not believing me"
- sharing it in a soft secretive tone."Howzthat!"
- he responded proudly. "Now that I have convinced you, it is time for you to leave as you are making the fishies nervous in the water and nervous fishies in my stomach can give me cramps, so, it was nice talking to you, drive safely and be careful for the BigFoot in the area ."
- bidding me farewell.
Driving along the S46, I slowly approached a car, and guess what! A car got a YR on. I first went past, then stopped and reversed to find out who it was. It was Crested Val and the Chick! Can you believe it. We had a nice chat and then I had to explain why I have been naughty
by not having a YR on my window.
The truth is, my YR I used during the Dec'13 trip, my daughter cut up in two i.e. the one end being used for her dolls and the other one to play with the cats. So, I bought another one, but when I got home, I realised it being a light green and not yellow.
With the limited time, I thought of getting one in White River and completely forgot.
So, Crested Val was so kind to offer me one of her spare ones.
Thank you Crested Val - and it was really nice meeting you.! On that note I set off to Letaba.
I went through another two streams where some more birdies were posing nicely for me. A really friendly Woodland kingfisher sitting still for a change close by allowing me to take a few
Not far away, some White-fronted bee-eaters were sitting on top of some branches.
Just as I was starting to relax, as in the past we often had some elephants on the road, one large and beautiful elephant appeared from the bushes making his way to the river.
After another wonderful drive from Olifants, I arrived at Letaba to get some refreshments for my trip to Sable dam and then the H14 to Mopani. I love Sable dam and as I received some sightings via BB for a few days at the time of lions on a zebra kill near Sable dam, the decision was made to check this out...tbc