May 24 – Letaba

I was up bright and early this morning and ready for my drive to Mopani to see if they still have the internet available for use (for a fee). Had a Helmeted Guineafowl roadblock soon after leaving the gate. It was still too dark to get their pictures though. This is the first time there have been enough of them to actually cause a roadblock. But there were only about a dozen of them, so they didn’t delay me for long. That was just the first of several roadblocks today.   🙂  Lighting was a little better for the Zebras I saw soon afterwards.

Then there was a real roadblock – Elephants. They kept me there for about 20 – 30 minutes or so – snapping pictures as I waited.

Suddenly, about 1/2 way through the roadblock,  I heard munching right beside me, and then realized that there were more Elephants just down a bank at the side of the road. I could see the tops of their heads and backs as they walked by. Some of them came up about 10 meters past my car and headed up the hill to join the others and the rest just stayed down there until they got to the top of the hill.

One car coming from the other direction didn’t feel the need to wait for the Elephants and kept coming, causing a bit of trumpeting, but luckily no problems. I was hoping they wouldn’t be angry with me when I decided to go, but since I wasn’t planning to go while they were on the road, I hoped it would be ok.

After I got to the top of the hill, I could see many of them spread out along both sides of the road.

Soon afterwards, two Cape Buffalo had me stopped again as they slowly walked across the road. These guys were not in a hurry.

Next were a Wildebeest and a very shy Waterbuck.

I then reached Mopani and went looking for internet. At reception they told me it was at the Conference Centre and I checked the map to see where that was and headed over there. This camp would take a lot of walking to go from one end to the other. There are lots of spots that are just bush and grass in between most areas. I don’t remember this from last time (5 years ago), but it must have been then too. I got my hour and started posting a couple of pictures on FaceBook and a short blog on my WordPress. Then the power went off and I had no internet. I went over to the restaurant to get a cappuccino but with the power down, they couldn’t make one for me then. I said I’d be back and went over to the shop (which was very dark). Suddenly, the lights came on, so I went back to the restaurant. She was already making my cappuccino.   🙂  I took a couple of pictures of the beautiful view, the Waterbucks, an Egret and flying Hawk or Eagle from the restaurant and when I finished my drink, I headed back to use the rest of my internet hour.

I don’t really think I got a full hour, but it might have counted the time where it was trying to re-connect after the power went out. I also lost some time because the clerk wanted to talk to me. She asked my advice on what I thought about leaving a good job to start her own enterprise and then she went on to explain what she thought the main differences were between black & white people. She also wanted to compare people to animals. I didn’t want to be rude, but I did try to keep doing what I planned on doing online. I certainly would not have minded a nice conversation with her about all her topics – but not when I had paid for the hour to be online. It wasn’t until I left that I realized I hadn’t even checked my email. Hope there isn’t anything too important in any of the messages. Guess they will have to wait anyway. No more internet until I am home.

After leaving Mopani, I found more Elephants, but these ones stayed on the side of the road.

Then there was a fair number of Zebras, Wildebeests, Tessabes and Impalas off to the other side of the road. One of the Tessabes has a youngster with her.

I was busy taking their pictures and then turned to look the other way and the Elephants from just before had moved and were now beside me on my other side. So, I took a couple more pictures of them.

Then another herd of Zebras and Wildebeests.

I stopped to take a picture of a huge dead tree on a hill and then one of the hill where Mopani is.

Then more Zebras, Wildebeests and Tessebe.

Another Elephant decided to cross the road.  A vehicle had been coming towards me and looking to see what I had stopped for. At that point, the Elephant started to cross – right where he was stopped. So, the driver kept going and I stayed to take pictures of him crossing.

I waited until he munched on some leaves and had walked behind the bush before moving on.

I haven’t taken any pictures of Impalas for awhile and this guy stood so nice and almost smiled at me – so I got a couple of him. I wonder if he remembered me from 5 years ago, when I may have told him how cute he was with little spikes on his head for horns and that one day he would be big and strong like his Dad. Now he is all grown up.  😀  I have no idea if I have ever taken his picture before, but I still have a good imagination 😉

Then more Zebras causing a roadblock again.

It was fairly obvious to me that these Zebras had somehow been advised about my conversation with my friend Chardon on FaceBook a little while ago, who had asked me to be sure and get lots of Zebra pictures.  (Hope you’re happy Chardon!)  🙂

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I took this Zebra picture out of the sequence above to show you the flock of birds above and behind the last Zebra here.  It almost looks like a swarm of flies above, but it is either a flock of Quelea or Wattled Starlings – both are in huge flocks everywhere and they are too far away to be able to tell.

I spotted some Elephants across the river bank.

Then watched (and took pictures) of circling Vultures.

A couple of scenery pictures.

Then a couple of Elephants getting water from a huge concrete tub.

I’m not sure the 2nd Elephant got any water though, since he then headed over to the water hole not far away.

Just ahead, two more Elephants crossed the road of me and walked along the side. They may have been headed over to the same watering spot as the other two.

By then I was getting close to Letaba and I stopped on the high water bridge. I saw two Terrapins – one was swimming and the other stopped & stuck his head out of the water. There was also a Waterbuck resting near the water.

I stopped to get a picture of Some Hippos (in and out of the water).  One of them had a Terrapin on his back and another had an Oxpecker.

Not great pictures, but I found a Warthog and her babies on the far side of the river. And then a couple more Waterbucks.

I got back to Letaba about 2:30 and was very hungry. I hadn’t eaten since my oatmeal in the morning and then just a cappuccino at Mopani. I had one of the toasted sandwiches and chips at the restaurant while the camera was recharging.

Then I sat on my patio and got the pictures organized and this blog written. For the 2nd time in 2 days, someone came up to me and asked if I was working and what I was working on. She thought I was a researcher. A man yesterday said I shouldn’t be working in a place like this. I told both of them that I wasn’t working. I just downloaded my pictures and wrote about my day. The only downside to the beautiful view here is that there is absolutely no privacy unless I am inside my bungalow. My patio is 4 feet from the path that goes to the restaurant. I certainly don’t mind saying hello to everyone who goes by and I don’t mind them asking questions about what I am doing either. It is just that it is a very busy path and unlike most bungalows I have been in, this one does not have a surrounding border (usually about 2 – 3 feet high) that encloses it a bit. I don’t even remember booking a perimeter bungalow. I remember her asking if I wanted the view at both Satara and Olifants and I said yes to Satara and no to Olifants – but I don’t remember her asking about this one. I have no regrets though – this is a beautiful bungalow to have.

I then noticed another Waterbuck across the water looking quite comfortable on the sand.

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A Bushbuck mom and her growing baby boy (look at those tiny spikes) were busy pruning some of the shrubbery in front of my bungalow.

Tomorrow, I head to Tamboti and spend the next 3 days in a tent.

Click here to start at the beginning of my trip.

Click here for the next post.

 

 

 

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