Day 10 - 25 August, 2010
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– 25 August, 2010
We got a fairly
early start, and while Jen was in the store, hitting the Magic Money Machine
(ATM) I noticed that the headlights were doing a nice job of illuminating this
lovely cluster of flowers, which we later found out are called Impala Lilies.
We headed out to the
Olifants River Outlook, again, but it was starting off as a pretty overcast day,
and nothing was moving. The
view of the river itself, though, is quite spectacular, with or without
As we headed north
along the Letaba River we came to Von Weilligh’s Baobab Tree.
I don’t know who
Von Weilligh was, but this is his tree!
This male Impala was
very close to the road
and gave us the
opportunity to show how ornate and lovely his horns are.
They are, after all, primarily for decoration and attracting the ladies!
We never ceased to
marvel at the beauty of the Kudus, particularly the males, and seldom passed up
an opportunity to stop and admire them.
This guy was
obviously eyeing this clump of tasty young leaves,
and a few seconds
later it was gone!
Further along the
river was a small group of Hippos, one of whom had a hitch-hiker on it’s back,
a Great Egret. (I think)
This pair of
were browsing next
to the road and paused to watch us watch them.
Sometimes the critters seemed to be as fascinated by us as we were by
Note the size of the
tusks on this big guy.
Though we would have
liked to have gotten more pictures of him, we weren’t terribly disappointed
that he was going the other way!
Whenever you are
traveling near rivers or other bodies of water, you will see trails crossing the
road which were obviously made by animals. From
one of the rangers, we learned the difference between ordinary animal trails,
and hippo trails, such as this one.
The hippo trails, if
you look closely, consist of two parallel ruts or grooves, which they leave
because they drag their feet. In
places there will still be grass growing in the middle, just like on one of our
dirt roads. While they spend their
days in or very close to the water, at night they will travel upwards of 20 km.
in search of tender grass to graze upon. At
first light, they head back to the water they came from, and many people have
lost their lives because they happened to be using one of these trails and got
between a hippo and his water. They
are an extremely dangerous animal, very aggressive towards humans, and are
responsible for over 200 deaths per year.
We are not 100% sure
of our ID on this bird
but believe it to be
a Spotted Dikkop, possibly immature. Any
help with this ID would be appreciated.
This female Impala,
laying just off the
road, appeared to be VERY pregnant. At
least, she was VERY wide!
As we came around a
curve in the road, near Engelhard Dam, this very large bull Elephant walked out
of the bush and straight down the road, toward us
causing Jen to
frantically search for reverse gear, while I clicked away with the camera.
Before he got to us, however, he swerved off and into the bush (good
thing, cuz she never did find reverse) and the last we saw of him
he was still trying
to make up his mind which one of these small trees he was going to have for
We stopped at Letaba
Camp to pick up some things at the store, and had to take this picture
of a garden of
succulents near the gate. The large
plant in the middle is some species of Aloe.
leaving Letaba we came across this small group of Zebra
reluctantly agreed to share their road with us.
This section of the
Letaba River Road, west of Letaba reminds me for all the world of Red Georgia
We reached the
in the early
afternoon, and headed down the river, back toward Letaba.
A short time later, we came across this scene
which, the more we
looked, the more we were amazed. A
herd of 50 or so female Impala was being watched over by a lone Kudu bull.
As they moved along, he followed, so it
was quite obvious that this was not just an accidental crossing of ways.
Was he just
confused? I don’t think so.
Nature never ceases to amaze.
As we continued
along down the nearly dry riverbed the scenery sometimes would take your breath
There were many
turnouts on this road, and at one of them we found this pair of Doublebanded
The male, as is
usual with birds, has the brighter coloration.
Here we have a
family of Baboons, crossing the road in front of us,
while Zebra graze
Bringing up the
rear, this large male
looked more than
capable of taking care of whatever business needed taking care of!
Nearby a vervet
was spending his
afternoon sitting on a log.
More scenic views
awaited us as we
moved on down the river, as well as this lone Elephant
who was making his
way up the river.
A little further
along, another semi-panic stop was brought on by a group of Giraffes
trimming the trees
alongside the road. This hansom male
seemed to be batting
his eyelashes at Jen, and hence, we had to have another Giraffe pic!
A Great Egret
was intently peering
at something in the water, but didn’t go after it while we were watching.
Two Cape Buffalo
watched us pass, and
in the dwindling light we got our last look of the day at the river.
Emerald Spotted Dove
Spotted Dikkop ?
Yellow Billed Kite Doublebanded Sandgrouse