Right here we go again!
2nd Day - Thursday - Feb 7th
which also happened to be my birthday and how special it was to wake up in the park!
Up early and after a quick brekkie, packed up the car and hit the road northwards.
As we had a long drive ahead to Phalaborwa gate, 260 kms to be precise, we knew it would have to be a case of driving with minimal stops unless it was for something really exciting...
so off we went,
we decided we would keep the speed around 30kph for down south and then once we passed Tshokwane and into more open grasslands, pick it up to 40.
I must also add here that I have decided I am not a good note taker, in fact I am a terrible note taker and apart from the first afternoon's pitiful attempt gave it up as a bad job!
Jock on the other hand is a incredible note taker so she would be shaking her head right now!
Anyway, I will try and remember where we saw what and the circumstances around it but otherwise just wing it!
Our route to get to our destination was pretty straight forward due to the time constraints, so it was H4-2- H10, H1-2, H1-3, H1-4, H1-5, & the H9
Somewhere along the route we cam across a Kori Bustard
who at first appeared calm and relaxed.Large
until something startled him! Large
A quick pit stop in Lower Sabie and I was not even allowed a little detour to have a look at Sunset Dam!
Over the Lower Sabie causeway where the river was flowing extremely fast and very full.
Driving past Tshokwane which at that stage was still closed but those who wanted to do their own thing could and there was a few doing so.
We came across a few zebs and couldn't resist stopping for a quick pic.Large
and her foalLarge
A stop off at Satara
for a bite to eat and a stretch of the legs.
Just outside the reception area sitting on a pole was this lovely Crested BarbetLarge
After that I promise you we hardly saw a thing, had an ellie tootle at us on the H9, but that was the most excitement of the day.
so we actually arrived at the gate quite a bit earlier than we anticipated and made our way to Val and Dungie's house where they were waiting with open arms and smiling faces.
How nice to see our dear friends again.
Val had even organised a birthday cake as well. how nice is that?
Then as you can imagine, lots of catching up to do, so over a few clinks, and a lekker braai we did just that before falling into bed that night.
The next day we decided to take a drive into the park for a few hours.
First up was a trip to Sable Dam
which as can be imagined was full to the very brim, but nothing much moving other than a tree with various Bee-eaters in a tree far off, which required a long lens. Large
Then as Val and Dungie had never been on one of the Low maintenance roads we decided on the one leading off from right next to the dam, nice scenery, but lots of washaways testament to the heavy rains.
Back onto the H9 and onwards to see if Val's Dessie was there but nope, he was not home!
Along the S96 and onto the S131 where we came across our "tusker" Ngonyama. Is that right Val?
He was so peaceful and allowed us to park off right next to him while he grazed and browsed and we snapped away.LargeLarge
A not very good pic of the ever present European Bee-eaterLarge
Just around the Shivulani area we decided to drive down our second low maintenance road of the day, a short 7 km one linking up with the H9.
As I recall we saw a big herd of Buffalo and a few other odds and ends.
Back home to Val's and another evening filled with lots of laughter and camaraderie, plus a wonderful dinner of Chicken curry!
9th Feb - Saturday
Back in the Phalaborwa gate and along the H9 towards Letaba,
but where have all the animals gone?
Val reported a distinct drop in numbers seen since the floods!
We had a quick look at the Letaba bridge that had been closed a short while before, (pics to follow a bit later in the report.)
Then decided to drive the S47 Letaba River Loop but again hardly anything moved!
I did find this bird which I am still not 100% sure what it is, having a guess at possibly Steppe Buzzard but I will get some confirmation and confirm.
Edit* Steppe Buzzard confirmed! Large
and also one I do know!
A far off Dark Chanting GoshawkLarge
We focus on this Brown Snake Eagle
and it immediately flies off but Klystron keeps shooting and gets a few action shots! LargeLarge
The Mingerhout Dam
looking fully than I remember it before.LargeLarge
After an unplanned visit to Letaba camp to get the nearly empty car filled we were once again back on the H9 heading for the gate.
To make up for the lack of animals we even had to resort to taking pics of the beautiful clouds formations.LargeLargeLarge
And then the gate loomed large and we headed on back home for a lovely meal of Val's Lasagna and the usual Clinks!
Don't go too far, tomorrow we are off to Mopani!