June 2 – Orpen

I started off early this morning with the usual Impalas, Wildebeests and Zebras. The Impalas were too far from the road for pictures with the early morning lighting – but I saw them. 🙂

Then, the first of a few roadblocks and something different to start the day. Two Hyaenas were walking down the H7 towards me. They seemed quite young to me, but I am certainly not an expert on Hyaenas. They were very interested in me and the car and some smelly stuff they rolled in on the side of the road. I got a few nice pictures of them and then they continued on, with my last picture showing them in my side mirror.  What a great way to start the day!

I turned onto the S12 and very soon afterwards, Elephants were crossing the road in front of me. One of them was the same limp ear one from a few days ago, so the rest were likely the same too.

A couple of Swainson’s Spurfowl stopped to pose for pictures.

Then I came to a big tree beside a nice waterhole and the Baboons were just coming down to greet the morning (and me?).

I was busy snapping pictures when I noticed a mom carrying her dead baby.  😦  She stopped right beside my car and put her baby down and another Baboon came up to groom her. It looks like it has been dead for awhile.  😦

Next is a Black-shouldered Kite posing for some pictures.  I also looked back at the big tree where the baboons were.

The S12 ended and I turned onto the S40 to continue up towards Timbavati Picnic area.  A couple of Impalas were grooming each other on the road and then moved off to let me pass.

A Purple Roller posed for one and only one picture – but it was much better than the ones I got earlier of one.

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Then an African Grey Hornbill gave me some nice poses followed by another Black-shouldered Kite.

Then – what I think is a female or juvenile Red-Crested Kornan was nice enough to let me take a few pictures.

An African Mourning Dove was perched nicely on top of a tree for a couple of pictures for me.

Then, I took some pictures of a bush that was covered in yellow flowers.

An African Grey Hornbill was enjoying a snack and allowed some pictures. I was looking towards the sun for these, so really had to manipulate the shadows to see much here.

A Laughing Dove posed nicely for me this morning and then, we have an unidentified flying bird.

A Lilac-breasted Roller was looking very pretty in the sunlight (with the sun on the other side of the road), so I had to take his picture.

Just before Timbavati, several Giraffes were browsing and walking, so I had to stop for them. 🙂

At Timbavati, I had some coffee from my thermos, took some pictures of the beautiful Bush Bucks there and used the facilities, before heading on. I turned onto the S39 where I found an Ostrich.

Next turn was onto the S127 where I got pictures of an unknown (to me) bird (hawk/eagle?)  Greg from the Birds of Kruger National Park says it looks like a juvenile Martial Eagle, and looking at the head, I am sure he is right.  The juvenile birds always confuse me.

Before too long, I was on the H1-4 and heading to Satara. There was a large flock of Vultures circling so I stopped to watch them and take some pictures.  I love watching them, but don’t even try to figure out what they are.

Zebras formed most of the sightings all the way to Satara, with one Wildebeest and then some Warthogs right at Satara.

Usually I have breakfast at Satara, but it was pretty much lunch time by the time I arrived there today, so I decided to have pizza at the place formally known as Debonaires Pizza, but is now Satara Pizza. It is still the same pizza though and it is very good. I filled the car with gas and had the windows cleaned while I was there too. Then, back on the H1-4 until I turned off and onto the H7 to head back to Orpen. Giraffes were first on that road.

At the viewpoint on the road that I often stop at, the 3 Hippos were sunbathing.

Next was a different kind of roadblock. A Wildebeest had crossed the road in front of an oncoming vehicle. After that vehicle passed and before I reached him, he came back on the road and started walking in the middle of the road, heading the same way I was. I took a few pictures of him as I slowly got a bit closer to him, thinking he would move over. Finally, he moved over a little bit, so I started to pull up beside him – but he started running ahead of me. I slowed down and continued following him. I didn’t want him to hurt himself running on the road. He moved over again and I slowly pulled up beside him – snapped a picture and continued on, with him now walking behind me – still in the middle of the road.

It wasn’t long before I came to some Zebras crossing the road and I wondered if the Wildebeest was planning on meeting up with them. I kept looking in my mirrors, but never did see him again. Once the Zebras finished crossing, I got more pictures and continued on my way.

Then, a few Giraffes crossing the road and I was back at Orpen.

Quite a bit earlier – shortly after I left Timbavati, I had seen a large flying insect come towards my open window and I wasn’t sure if he came in or not. I didn’t hear him behind me, and I couldn’t see anything back there, so I assumed he had not come inside.  I didn’t think of looking back there when I stopped at Satara.  When I was almost back to Orpen, I heard a thump in the back seat and turned around to see him on the back window. I couldn’t stop now until I was at Orpen, so once I got here, I opened the back hatch and got one quick picture before he flew away. It looks like he is missing one of his back legs, but he can still fly anyway.  I did not measure this guy, but he is definitely larger than some of the lizards that have visited me this trip.

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As I was sitting on my patio writing this and editing my photos (the first time) some Baboons came into camp – so I had to get some pictures. They mostly behaved themselves – eating what they found on the ground and in the trees, but one did get into the garbage in one spot. I clapped my hands at any that went close to the bungalows and they left – so today anyway they were not too bad.

I had gotten to about this point, when my laptop froze on me. I left it for several minutes, but it would not come back, so I had to shut it down. I don’t usually save as I go along, so the entire post up to now was lost.  I just use Word Pad, which does not auto save – but I do not insert the pictures until I upload to my blog.  This time I am saving frequently.

I saw another little Lizard and quickly got a couple of pictures. This one looks like a Striped Skink and is about 4 inches long.

More Baboons arrived, but these ones were also foraging on their own, including one who was up in a tree for awhile enjoying his natural feast.

It looks like I have no neighbours on either side of me now. Both the original couples moved out after my first night and another couple moved into one of them last night, but no one has moved into either of them tonight. The gates are now closed as I am writing this.

Today is my last day at Orpen and tomorrow I head south again – this time going to Skukuza.  Less than a week left in this amazing place now – but I am going to enjoy every minute.

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