May 31 – Talamati to Orpen

I heard the Lion roars early this morning again, so was up and heading out shortly after 6:00 am. I did not find the lions.

There was a little bit of fog in places, but thin little lines of it while everything else was clean. The picture almost looks like water.

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Today I only saw one of the little guys that I thought was a Steenbok yesterday and that is still what I think it is. I did not manage to get a good picture this time either though.

I arrived at the pretty waterhole on the S36 just as some Waterbucks were arriving. They were nice enough to pose for me.

I also saw some Water Thick-knees on the other side so zoomed in on them for a picture and more of the Waterbucks, since they were co-operating so well.

Some Impalas were nearby and I stopped to get pictures of the of the little spike guys.

Next was a herd of Cape Buffalo. All I have seen before were just single old guys on their own or with 1 friend. There was 1 young one in the herd that I could see, but couldn’t get him in a picture. There was one that was really smiling at me, so I got a couple of pictures of that.

Then an Ostrich was on the sunny side of the car, so he nicely decided to cross the road for me. Unfortunately, he didn’t turn around to look at me for a picture though.

Next were a couple of Elephants,

and then some Giraffe and Zebras.

I arrived at Satara and had some French Toast with Bacon and a Cappuccino for breakfast. A Dove dropped by and I got some pictures of him. I think it might be the same kind as I saw earlier at Tshokwane that I thought looked the same as the Ring-necked Dove except for the colour. I now think it is the African Morning Dove. It has a yellow eye with a red circle around it and that seems to be the only dove like that. I’ll go back to the other pictures to compare.  I have since found out that both the Doves at Tshokwane were African Mourning Doves – the dark one (this one) is a youngster.

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On the way to Orpen after breakfast, I found more Elephants and then some Vultures at the spot where the Lions had been yesterday.

I stopped at Bobbejaankrans to look around and take pictures and while there met the Emmett family. The bench at the lookout is in memory of Mr.Theo Emmett who spent many happy hours there. I found a bird that I had never seen before. The Emmetts said it was a Woodland Hoopoe, but looking at my bird book it is a Green (Redbilled) Wood Hoopoe. The book is a few years old now, so it might now be Woodland.  It sure helped talking to someone who knew what kind of bird it was and saved me quite a bit of time looking through my bird book.  🙂  We decided that the one with the dark bill is a young one and my bird book confirmed this.

I also got a couple of pictures of a Yellow-billed Hornbill  and then took a couple of scenic pictures.

After I left, a Warthog walked across the road in front of me and then nicely stopped to pose, before putting his tail up in the air and trotting off.  My friend Karen will be so happy to see this guy.  🙂

Then a few Zebras as I was getting close to Orpen. I haven’t seen many of them today.

As I reached the waterhole at Orpen, there were some Zebras being chased away by some Elephants who then took over the waterhole for themselves for awhile.

I checked in at Orpen and took a little walk to see the waterhole. My view is the fence of the swimming pool, but it isn’t far to the waterhole view anyway. The Aloes are in bloom along the way and I got some pictures of a White-bellied Sunbird at the flowers. I have been trying to get a decent picture of a Sunbird for awhile, and I think I got some good ones today.

Then, I took my usual bungalow pictures – inside and out. 🙂

My neighbours on both sides here are very nice. They are both South African and come here often. One is leaving tomorrow morning and heading for Berg en Dal, but I am not sure about the other.

A Red-billed Hornbill was looking for food in front of my bungalow – so I took pictures (of course).  🙂

At about 3:30 pm, I decided to go out for a quick drive. The Emmetts had told me about a Leopard they had watched nearby so I went to where they said and looked around. I did not see any sign of her, but will check again a few times while I am here. She may have a large enough area that I won’t ever see her, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to look.

I found Zebras and a Giraffe.

and then a Lilac-breasted Roller posed for me.

Next were Elephants

and Warthogs (just for Karen).

Then, I was back at Orpen. I went and booked a morning drive for tomorrow and then got some ice cream.

There was time for a walk around the perimeter fence, where I saw Impala.

Click here to start at the beginning of my amazing vacation.

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