June 7 – Berg en Dal

Today was the day to meet Gerda, Janine and Christy at the Skukuza golf course restaurant for lunch. I met Janine last time I was here 5 years ago, but although I’ve known Gerda and Christy for many years, this was our first meeting.

I had plenty of time to get there, but I left nice and early anyway so I could take my time (as I like to do). It was another foggy morning and the mountains looked beautiful, so I took pictures.

An Elephant was my first critter,

 

followed by a pair of Saddlebill Storks.

 

Then a Yellow-billed Hornbill – these birds are so much fun to watch. 🙂

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Then, I saw a flash of green land on a tree, so I started my zoom in on another Brown-headed Parrot (although it might be the same one from yesterday). This time he stayed a second or 2 longer and I got a shot of his rear as he flew away for my more zoomed in picture.

 

Then – some Elephants. As I was zoomed in on this nice family group on the right side of the road, I heard noises coming from the left side close to me and another Elephant came out right beside my car and then crossed directly in front of me. The car that was stopped in front of me quickly moved ahead. He wandered over to join the family, but they didn’t seem thrilled to have him there and they then started to move away.

 

A beautiful Laughing Dove posed for one quick picture,

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then – with the help of a couple of friendly people, I finally saw the Klipspringer resting on some rocks.  These guys can hide in plain sight! The only movement was his ears, so the only difference in these photos is the amount of zoom I used.  🙂

 

I stopped in at Skukuza to use the washroom and met Gerda in there 🙂 We chatted a bit and decided to head for Lake Panic, which is on the way to the golf course. Gerda decided to take a little detour on the way, so I continued there on my own. My car was the 6th in the parking lot and a maximum of 8 is allowed. No one left, but 3 groups came in while I was there, so I knew there were too many. Not sure if the others couldn’t count or just didn’t care. First pictures I took were of the Hippos.

 

Next were the Terrapins on the log and a couple of Crocodiles on the grass. The one that is in hiding has the tracker on, so that must be the one I saw last time.

 

An African Darter had been completely submerged when he suddenly stuck his head and neck out of the water. I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture when he did that, but a few minutes later, he came out of the water to dry off and pose beautifully for us. I got quite a few pictures of him. 🙂

 

Next bird was an African Fish Eagle. I got him without using enough zoom to know what he was when flying, but I watched him land where I could then zoom in on him. 🙂 None of them are great pictures, but I was zooming in between branches to make it a bit more difficult.

 

An African Jacana made picture taking much easier today. He decided not to hide behind the reeds and grasses like he did last time.

 

It was getting close to noon and Gerda had not made it to the hide yet, so I thought I should leave so there will be a spot in the parking lot for her. There were 9 cars parked as I thought and another one driving in (who took my spot). But Gerda told me later that she did get in before arriving at the golf club.

I headed over to the club and was met by lots of Wart Hogs. Three big guys got into an argument and little ones were running all over to get out of the way. I had to get out of the way too so most of the pictures were taken after things calmed down. 🙂

 

An African Jacana posed for me here too.

 

I took some pictures of the entrance to the building.

 

Gerda showed up soon afterwards, followed by Janine and then Christy and her husband Keith. We had a great lunch with lots of talk and laughter as we caught up with what everyone has seen and done.  Keith used everyone’s cameras so that we each got our own pictures of us together.  Thanks Keith.

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The time flew by an then Janine (good thing someone was watching the time) mentioned that since I had the furthest to go, I might want to think about it. So, I realized she was right and I’d better get moving. The gates close at 5:30 and I didn’t want to get locked out and/or fined for being late.

I hadn’t gone far when just ahead – there was something on the road. A Leopard – a beautiful Leopard – in daylight! So, I could take pictures and it was walking towards me. He (or she) went into the tall grass for a couple of minutes and then came out right in front of my car. I just had time to hold the camera over at the passenger side and snap a couple of pictures. Then I took more using the side mirror after she passed me.

 

Looking at the pictures later, I could see that when she is in the tall grass, there is something else in there with her.  I can not tell what it is though.  There was a vehicle stopped on the other side of the road and the people were looking in there and could probably see what she was doing, and I remember seeing that they were smiling.

I found some Baboons playing on a huge rock.

 

I was getting close to home when I saw a young male Elephant being a bully to a Giraffe. The Giraffe seemed to be ignoring him, but then decided that he might as well go somewhere else to eat.

 

Next was one Buffalo bull holding up traffic, but when he turned to go back to the side, I saw there was a whole herd of them.

 

Throughout my travels during the day, I saw a few Rhinos too. 🙂

 

Yesterday I had 3 of the Big 5 and today I had 4 – now I am just missing Lion.

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2 thoughts on “June 7 – Berg en Dal

  1. Thanks Sue. It was sure wonderful to meet these friends. And I can not disagree about the Leopard either. They are so elusive and hard to find, but so beautiful.

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