Hello again Trrp-trrrrrrrr and Hilda. Hello too Elsa, Heksie and Meandering Mouse and thank you for the warm welcome.
We awoke at 3.15. The rain had stopped during the night and a bird was calling, “Coo ee prr . . . Coo ee prr tp.” It was dark outside and the caller remained unseen and unidentified. We had our early morning coffee in bed. When the curtains began to glow faintly around their edges, I drew them open. The dam gleamed in the dawn and on its far bank a pale giraffe was moving slowly from one tree to another. On the lawn, standing silently in the soft, early light was the little duiker, Shine. A wave of happiness washed over me to see that she was still alive. She must be about fifteen years old now.
She rubbed her muzzle gently on the verandah edge and wandered away across the grass.
I opened another set of curtains. Clinging to the wall behind them was this little frog. Its sides were heaving and it scrambled hurriedly onto on the windowsill. I took a quick photo and left it in peace.
We breakfasted on paw paw and oranges and slices of hot, fried potato. After that we simply sat on the verandah for a while, listening to the hippos grunting and watching as ripples formed and faded on the dam’s surface. Then it was time to visit the reception desk where we checked in, purchased a wild card and handed back the key.
We drove alongside the river bank and then onto the tarred road towards Mopani. The sky was clouded over and we did not see much game. At the confluence lookout the macabre remains of a hippo were floating in a shallow pool of bright green, toxic looking water. We wondered what death scene had so recently played out down there.
At Mooiplaas we stopped and walked about for a bit, relishing the opportunity to stand upright and stretch our limbs. We reached Mopani too early to check in. So we drove a short way northwards and found the culvert where, a few years ago, we had watched as a family of hyenas emerged and the mother lay down to let her baby suckle. This day, no hyenas were there. Perhaps they had abandoned the den or maybe they were just hiding inside.
We returned to camp and carried our bags and boxes into the cottage that was to be our home for the next four nights. We ate a late lunch on the verandah and settled back to watch the birds and squirrels hopping about in the bushes. We had a view of the dam and that evening the sunset over it was breathtakingly beautiful.