Nov 2nd cont.
I hope you didn’t get too excited anticipating what we saw from the restaurant, because it wasn’t a great deal actually!!
We saw a couple of bushbuck in the thick foliage, who were having a great feast, and eventually made their way down to the river!!
Then when our chicken mayo toasties arrived (which were a bit cold if I’m to be perfectly honest!!) we had a visitor!!!
I have never seen such an odd looking starling, and we named him “scruffy one leg”!! He soon got the message that he was not going to be fed, and flew off to pester the people at a nearby table.
There was a profusion of weaver birds flying around as well, toing and froing from their nests, and also a woodpecker.
We then noticed two birds on the bird bath just in front of us. They were having a fabulous time getting wet, then preening themselves dry.
We were very excited, because they were lifers for us, but the nearest ID that I can find in my book is Scaly-Throated Honeyguide, or some sort of Warbler (neither of which is probably correct!!)
No doubt some kind soul will enlighten me, as to the correct identity!
Then two paradise flycatchers arrived…….male and female, but they were too quick for me to take a pic……how stunning they are, but how flighty!!
We had stayed at Shingwedzi in March, and had loved the causeway at the back gate of the camp, so we decided to visit it that morning, on our way out.
As we approached, we saw a Woolly-Necked Stork who very obligingly posed for a photo, and then we started to cross the causeway.
Dungie suddenly said “Why’s the back door open?” Sure enough, when I looked, the back door on my side of the car was wide open, and I had visions of all our stuff tumbling into the river!!
So against my better judgement, I leaned out of my window and managed to close it.
“Phew “I thought, until I saw a huge crocodile looking up at me from the shallow water in the river!!!
I shot my arm back in pretty quickly, I can tell you!!!
There were just two Egyptian Geese high in a tree, and a few small very quick unidentifiable birds, so we decided to make tracks, and drove up the S135 to join the main H1-7 road to Punda Maria Camp.
This area of the park in the main is still quite dry, but here and there it is beginning to green up!
Now I have already mentioned how sometimes we wait for ages to get our first ever sighting of a bird or animal, and then once we’ve seen it, we break the spell and see more and more of them, like with the Martial Eagles.
Well 35 years of visiting Kruger has produced not one secretary bird, so when we booked for our week in KTP we hoped that we would see one, as we were told that they are more common there.
Sure enough we were lucky to see several along the Nossob Road, while staying at TR, and thought that we would not see another until we returned there!!
Well on our first day visit into Kruger in September, what did we see strolling across the road, but a secretary bird!! Sadly it strutted off into the bush too quickly for me to take a photo, but we mused on how we had seen it after all this time!!
Then today Dungie suddenly braked and there was our second secretary!!! This time I was able to get a snap, though not a very good one, as it was walking on a mission to go goodness knows where!!
No sooner had we continued on our journey, when we saw two bucks that we did not recognise. I think they may be either Grey Rheboks, or Common Duikers, but please can somebody confirm that for me!!!
Whatever they turn out to be, it will be a first for us both!!
Just before the Punda turning, on our left, we saw a huge herd of ellies, and they were heading in the direction of the H13-1!! I just hoped that they wouldn’t be on the road when we got there!!!!
They weren’t I’m glad to say, but we did see quite a few other ellies along that road, but luckily they were all too busy eating to take any notice of us, and after passing some kudu and buffs, we turned off for Punda camp.
I got goose bumps as we drove through the gates, as I just love this place with its old world charm, even those gates have not been modernised.
As I looked at the rows of terraced bungalows that we passed on our way to check in, I could imagine how the early visitors to the park spent their time chatting to their neighbours and cooking their braais together, sharing sightings and experiences!!
Yes that still happens today, to a certain extent, but with individual huts and braais it won’t happen as often I’m sure.
We had booked one of these bungalows, because as pensioners on a fixed income, we have to be careful with our pennies, and though I hate to say it, the park accommodation is getting a bit out of our league.
However, when Dungie went to book in, and asked for a bungalow near the braai area, because his wife had walking difficulties, they offered to upgrade us free of charge, to a unit for the disabled in the tented camp!!
Now I usually avoid tents, because I am always convinced that there will be a “no legged” or “eight legged” creature sharing the accommodation with me, but I decided this time to give it a try!! (Yes I know they’re in the huts as well….I’ve read the threads!!)
It was actually a lovely unit, and I’m glad to say that we had no unwelcome visitors the entire stay!!
We had our own terrace with outdoor kitchen and braai, and inside we had a nicely furnished bedroom, with ensuite facilities that had been adapted for the mobility challenged!!
By this time it was about 5pm, and as Dungie had driven most of the day, he opted for a cold beer while he laid his braai, rather than an evening drive!!
As we sat out sipping our sundowners, several birds came to perch in the nearby trees. We saw Yellow-Bellied Greenbuls, Dark-Capped Bulbuls, Swallows, a Grey Go Away bird, Starlings and several that I could not ID or get a picture of!!
Because we had thought we would have no kitchen, and thinking that it might be very hot weather, we had opted to bring several salads with us…………potato, coleslaw, three bean and beetroot.
To go with the salads, Dungie braaied two delicious Texan pork steaks and boerewors…….a feast fit for a king!! We followed that with crème caramel, which was, as they say “naughty but nice”!!
After dinner we made coffee, and sat drinking our Amarulas, very content with the day’s events, and wondering what tomorrow would bring!!
The sky was cloudy now, so sadly there were no stars out, but it was still so good to be here in this beautiful country called South Africa, and in our beloved Kruger.
We had an early night, because we had driven quite a distance that day, and we were going to Pafuri and Crook’s Corner the following day!! Oh joy!!
As we fell asleep there was a peculiar noise, and we suddenly realised that it was a frog’s chorus………………what a racket!!!
To be continued…………….