May 19 – Satara to Olifants

As I left this morning, the first critters were the Impalas that seem to live at the gate at Satara. Soon after were the Wildebeests that are usually in their places too. The first pictures were of a Vulture Tree.  Next were some Zebras who turned their backs on me, but I took a picture anyway.

While driving I heard Ellie rumbles and at first didn’t recognize the sound, but soon realized what it was and stopped.  Since they were behind trees, but right beside me when they rumbled, they were behind me when I stopped, and they started crossing the road. Some were still on the original side though, which made taking pictures a little easier with the sun behind me.

Love this baby one!  🙂

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Next were some Kudu, who were quite deep in the bush and at a distance, but I managed a couple of 1/2 decent pictures of them. Soon afterwards, another male Kudu walked onto the road in front of me, but when he saw my car, he stopped and ducked behind some bushes and tall grasses.  I stopped the car and he went further down the road and crossed.

I stopped and got out to take some pictures at the high level bridge not too far from Olifants. I didn’t see any wildlife, but the scenery is beautiful. Actually, I guess the Swallows were wildlife and I did manage a picture of them.

Soon after that I saw the detour road I had to take to get to Olifants (or anywhere north of here) due to part of the road ahead being washed away from the storms earlier in the year on my last trip in 2012.  I didn’t take that road this time, so I got to see where the repairs on the road were done.

Last critters before arriving at Olifants were a Giraffe and more Zebra butts.

I went to the viewpoint and took some pictures of both the view and the cute Elephant fountain. Critters seen from the viewpoint were Elephants, Marabou Stork, Egyptian Geese, Hippos and an African Fish Eagle in flight.

One Elephant seems to have left the herd (maybe kicked out) and crossed the river on his own.  I have a couple of pictures showing his herd going away while he crossed the river.

Later, when eating breakfast at the Olifant’s Restaurant, I saw another herd of Elephants over on that side.

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Then I checked in, but was too early for the key, so I headed back out for another drive. I had noticed a viewpoint just before the turnoff to Olifatonts and headed up there first. I took some pictures of the view there and of a Vulture flying by and headed back down, turning towards Letaba to drive a bit.

I didn’t see any critters along the road, so when I saw a sand road back towards Olifants, I decided to take it. I did not have any Impala pictures today, so stopped when I saw a couple on the side of the road.

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Next, I stopped to take a picture of the Balboa Tree on this road.  As soon as I stopped to take the picture though, I saw a Leopard Tortoise and took a few pictures of him too.

A few Elephants were feeding a little off to the side of the road, so they were my next photo victims.

Then, I was back at Olifants and back to the viewpoint. I could see a couple of Giraffes off in the distance and took pictures of them and then noticed a Waterbuck come into view – so he was next. One Hippo was in view then also so one more picture with him and the Waterbuck.

Then I went back to pick up my key and see if I could book for the morning drive tomorrow. No one else was signed up for the drive yet, so he said he could not officially book me, but if anyone else registered, I could then come back and pay for mine.

I’ve got #55, so no view for me here. I think I might have been 1 row closer last time and I could see the river, but there are still leaves on the trees this time, which are blocking the view anyway. I could have had a bungalow with a view, but the cost was a fair amount higher.

The community kitchen is right below me and the stairs to it are next door (or I could jump down) and I have my own toilet and shower, so don’t need an ablution. I have a little Striped Skink here with me again.  He is pretty quick and I had some problems getting the camera to focus on him for awhile.  Later, he finally slowed down enough that my camera could focus on the little guy, so I got some pictures of him.

I took a little walk and am pretty sure that last time I had Bungalow #66, which is just over a little bit in the next row in front of me. There is no view from there this time because of the trees either. I wandered down to the front row, where they do have a view – at least most of them. My fear would be if I had taken a view, that I would have got one with trees blocking my view. The ones who know would have picked the best after they registered. I took a picture of #66 from my current #55 and I took pictures of the views in between some of the expensive view bungalows.

Then I wandered back to reception to see if I had a ride or not. Luckily 2 people signed up, so there will be 3 of us on the drive.

Then it was time for dinner and I went back to the restaurant. I found some Elephants still out there and snapped pictures as it was starting to get dark.

Alarm is set for 4:00 am, so I will be there and ready to board at 4:45 am.

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