May 21 – Olifants

Yesterday afternoon, I took a couple of pictures of the Aloes that grow here and a couple of the Squirrels. The Squirrels were on the ground when I saw them – so I guess they are Ground Squirrels. 🙂

 

 

I planned my route last night to drive this morning, so set out at 6:04 am, taking the S92 that turns off the H8 a few kilometers outside of camp. This is the same road that I had to use as a detour in 2012 when coming and going south from Olifants due to the main road being closed after the storms earlier in the year. Using this, I went past the causeway over to Balule, and that had also been under construction last time due to the storms. It looks great and we went over it yesterday morning on the morning drive, but I kept going to follow the entire detour I had taken before.

First picture was my first shot of the sunrise this morning  (above) and first critters were Impalas soon after I got on the S92. Next were Waterbuck, and one stopped to pose very nicely for me. Then I got another sunrise picture.

 

 

Next picture I took was of the shadow of my car and my little buddy/tracker Zeb keeping a lookout for me. Then, a couple of views from the road.

 

 

 

Then I was on the H1-5 heading south for a little while. First stop there was the high level bridge where I stopped to take a couple of shots (one with an Egyptian Goose).

 

Next were a couple of birds – a Yellow-billed Hornbill and a Lilac-breasted Roller. The LBR was particularly good at posing for me. Then a pair of Hornbills gave me a nice shot too.

 

Then I turned on to the S39 and the plan was to just drive until I decided to turn around again. Some Zebras stepped onto the road shortly after I got on it and although I had to take the first pictures through the windscreen, they came out ok. My little zeb got an up close and personal look at the real thing. 🙂

 

 

Next was a Giraffe at the side of the road, but he managed to keep his face pretty much hidden for most of my pics.

 

 

Kudus were next with the male trying to stay hidden most of the time.

 

 

I was seeing flocks of Queleas, but they would take off flying as I neared them each time. I did see one bird on its own and got a couple of pictures, and I think it may be one also.

 

 

A Grey Go-away Bird perched on a branch for a couple of pictures next.

 

 

Then some scenic pictures. One was a tree that was just so much taller than everything around it. Another Lilac-breasted Roller perched so nicely that I had to get his picture too.

 

 

A little Laughing Dove looked so cute that he was next. 🙂  He was followed by an Impala ram and a hill of rocks and trees.

 

 

After the last scenic pictures, I took one of a bird that I am not sure about and then turned around to start my journey back. I went around a curve and suddenly a Giraffe was on the road heading for me. I stopped to wait for him, but he turned off the road and walked into the bush. I think it was the same one that I saw earlier.

 

 

Then I saw a little Steenbok. This wasn’t the first one I saw – both the other ones were racing off into the bush before I had a chance to grab the camera, but this one was hiding and didn’t think I saw it. Not great pictures, but you can see him.

 

 

Then, finally a few Quelea stayed on a branch for me.

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Next were some very difficult Vervet Monkeys to take pictures of. They certainly did not make it easy, but I think you can see them anyway.

 

 

A couple of Impala rams were trying to settle a dispute on the road and then when I looked over at the rest of them, there were Kudus in with them. There were 2 females and a young one. After the Kudus walked away, I went back to watching the boys fight.

 

 

I then took a couple of pictures of Doves, but was taking it into the sun, so not sure what they are. Next were a couple of Giraffes, but they certainly were not in the ‘make it easy for Mavis’ frame of mind. You can see they are Giraffes though.

 

 

By this time I was almost back to the H1-4 and before long I was back to a smooth tar road and the high level bridge. On one side of the bridge was a basking Crocodile and on the other side was a Monitor (probably water, since there are not many rocks there). The Blacksmith Lapwings were not happy with him being there though. You can hear them in the short video, but they didn’t dive bomb him like the did a minute before I took the video.  I wonder if the Lapwings have a nest nearby.

 

 

Then a few Zebra by the side of the road

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and then a couple of Elephants having a little duel beside the river.

 

Back in camp, a Dark-eyed Bulbul posed for me and then a couple of Squirrels raced around.

 

While I was sitting out on my porch writing this, a Vervet Monkey strolled by me and then a few minutes later, came racing back past me again.

 

My little Striped Skink came back to visit me. I was thinking he’d moved out forever (or a bird had caught and eaten him), but here he is again. 🙂 Then more Vervet Monkeys dropped by.

 

I wandered over to the lookout and planned to have dinner there. On the way I took pictures of a tree that grows its fruit right on the trunk and branches.

 

Looking up into one of the trees, I saw a Trumpeter Hornbill. First time I’ve even seen one of them.

 

At the lookout, I watched some Kudus walk across the sand.

 

After a few minutes, I headed over to the restaurant, and saw 2 large Baboons come up the wall and go under the electric fence to get in. I got one bad picture of one of the bad boys.  I wondered how they got in, but see that since the wall curves and the electric fence does not, they have found a spot where they hug the wall and come up under the fence.  He sure is giving me a dirty look!

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I saw a couple of Striped Skinks near the restaurant, but these guys have a blue tail. I wonder if my little guy will have a blue tail when he grows up.  If I ever get to go back again one day, I will have to get myself a reptile book.

 

A flock of Red-wing Starlings arrived at the restaurant when I did and did a lot of calling and flying around. One of them landed right beside my table and posed for pictures.

 

Back down at the lookout, I took a couple of pictures of a Grey Heron and a few more scenic pictures. 🙂

 

I took a picture of my licence plate – love the Elephant on it. A couple more pictures of Baboons that were hanging around the bungalows finishes off my day.

 

Tomorrow, I pack up and head to Letaba. I can take my time, since it is a very short drive there. I might stay at the lookout to watch the sunrise with a thermos of coffee before leaving.

Click here to start at the beginning of my journey  🙂

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