Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger – Tzendze

26 November 2019

We were in bed very early last night and so this morning I awoke at before 05:00!   It gets light at 04:30 and that is when you are allowed out the gate at this time of the year.  However, we seldom make such an early start as the light is still not very conducive to photography.   This morning we left at 06:30.  The temperature was already 24 degrees C and it reached a high of 35 degrees C.

There is a hyaena den not far from Tzendze and it was here that we stopped to see some activity.  Unfortunately, the babies were hidden but we’re sure to see them another day.

P1180827 Hyaena by Earl 2019-11-26 6-57-40 AM

First, we saw this one

P1180828 Hyaena by Earl 2019-11-26 6-57-49 AM

They were on the Earl’s side of the car

IMG_5063 Whimpering hyaena 2019-11-26 6-45-50 AM

I heard whimpering next to my window and turned around to find this!

This morning we made our way to Shipandani Hide.  To get there you need to cross over a causeway. Well, when we got to the causeway we didn’t bother to go to the hide as all the activity could be seen from our car.  We watched for almost an hour and must have counted at least 10 different bird species coming and going.


IMG_5078 Green-backed heron, Great Egret, Thick-knees, Grey Heron, Jacana and White Stork 2019-11-26 6-56-58 AM

The first scene to meet us – Green-backed heron, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Water Thick-knee, African Jacana and Yellow-billed Stork

IMG_5074 Green-backed heron 2019-11-26 6-56-09 AM

Close-up of Green-backed Heron

IMG_5073 Jacana, Thick-knees and Grey Heron on Causeway 2019-11-26 6-56-04 AM

Grey Heron with Jacana emerging and two Water Thick-knees in the background

IMG_5116 YB Stork and Grey Heron 2019-11-26 7-10-03 AM

Yellow-billed Stork and Grey-Heron – Caught anything today?

IMG_5088 Squacco Heron 2019-11-26 7-00-43 AM

The Squacco Heron was not going to be left out


IMG_5097 Hammerkop 2019-11-26 7-06-34 AM 2019-11-26 7-06-34 AM

Nor was the hamerkop


IMG_5104 YB Stork and Hamerkop 2019-11-26 7-07-52 AM.JPG

Sharing is caring – you’re welcome to fish at my secret spot


IMG_5125 Little Egret 2019-11-26 7-11-16 AM

Do I have to get my feet wet?

After we’d had our fill of watching these lovely birds we continued our drive and had more pleasant sightings



Green Wood-hoopoe.  I prefer the old name – Red-billed Wood-hoopoe.


Brown Snake-eagle with a starling looking up at him admiringly



Zebra posing on an anthill

At 10 am we returned and stopped at Mopani for breakfast then back to camp for a few hours.  By 13h50 it was 30 degrees centigrade.  It was just too hot to stay in camp without aircon so we set off for a long drive toward where there is a bridge that crosses the Letaba River.  There was quite a lot of storm damage there.

On our trip there and back we had some good sightings.


IMG_5226 Red-crested Korhaan 2019-11-26 9-47-38 AM

A Red-crested Korhaan calling for a mate

IMG_5308 Black-shouldered kite 2019-11-26 4-19-58 PM

Black-shouldered Kite – not too many of these this year

IMG_5317 Saddle-billed Storks Male and Female 2019-11-26 4-42-51 PM

Saddle-billed Storks – Male standing, female sitting



My favourite – giraffe

Finally, we reached the river.

IMG_5274 Letaba River 2019-11-26 2-45-28.JPG



This sign was washed down the hill to this position


P1180850 Hamerkop by Earl Letaba Bridge 2019-11-26 2-57-44 PM

The Earl got a good shot of a Hamerkop

P1180849 Pied Kingfisher by Earl - Letaba Bridge 2019-11-26 2-57-11 PM

And a Pied Kingfisher

There was not much to see so we turned around and made our way back to camp.




IMG_5277 Elephant in the river 2019-11-26 3-18-14 PM.JPG

Elephant emerging from the river




She seems amused

While walking around our lovely Tsensze, I looked into the trees to see if I could find the Scops Owl and/or Barred Owlet.   I nearly freaked out when I saw this instead.


IMG_5237 Boomslang in tree 2019-11-26 11-30-00 AM

Boomslang (Tree Snake) looking for birds’ eggs.

IMG_5243 Boomslang in tree 2019-11-26 11-31-40 AM

The Earl wanted to chase him away but I said, “You can’t interfere with nature!”


IMG_5255 Kurrichane Thrush 2019-11-26 11-40-09 AM

This Kurrichane Thrush obligingly posed for me

P1180853 Scops Owl 2019-11-26 7-20-57 PM

Later in the evening, two teenagers who were camping with their parents came to call us to see the Scops Owl.  What lovely young gentlemen they were.






When our camp caretaker, Elena came around to greet us in the evening, we told her about the snake.  She was quite upset because she said that would be the place where the owls had laid eggs.


The next morning, she told us that she’s seen the owls at the nest.  They seemed distressed and then flew away and haven’t returned to that tree!  I told her that the Earl had wanted to chase the snake.  She said she was very upset and would have wanted to chase it too but you can’t interfere with nature!







3 thoughts on “Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger – Tzendze

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