29 November 2019
We planned to stay three nights in Shingwedzi but decided that because of the heat we would change some bookings and head south. We have always seen lots of wildlife in the north although its reputation for seeing ‘everything’ is not as good as for the rest of the park. We love the north because it is quieter and also very pretty and the birding is usually good. There has been some rain but not as much as in the south and it is still quite dry. This is affecting the sightings of both birds and animals. So today was our last in beautiful Shingwedzi. And what a wonderful farewell she gave us.
We were up very early and when we left for our morning drive at 5:45 it was already 26 degrees centigrade. It rose to a high of 43 degrees!
All our usual friends were about but there were one or two special sightings too.
During the heat of mid-day, we stayed in camp, napped, did some computer stuff and then went to the pool. We also went to the reception to change our bookings. While we were there we met a group of young German tourists and got chatting. It was their last day and they booked a sunset drive. They really wanted to see a leopard.
At the pool, we met a young couple with a very small baby. We exchanged greetings but did not chat much. We weren’t planning on going for an afternoon drive but once we’d cooled off in the pool, the Earl suggested a quick drive to Red Rocks and back. It was 16:15 when we left which meant we only had just over two hours before gate closing time. It is not like the Earl to cut things so fine!
The light for photography was not good for Red Rocks so I am not posting the ones I took. They do not do the rocks justice at all. If ever you’re in the area, go there. It’s quite fascinating to see the colour of this rocky outcrop.
On our way back we saw a single stationary car parked up ahead. “He’s got something,” I said. “He hasn’t moved a centimetre”
“Probably elephants,” said the Earl
But he was wrong! It was the couple with the baby.
“What have you seen?” asked the Earl.
“‘n Luiperd! Hy slaap by die watergat! Ons is nou al ‘n half-uur saam met hom.”
(A leopard! He’s asleep next to the waterhole. We’ve been with him for half an hour.)
I spotted him immediately and jumped over to the back seat so I could be next to the window. “I’m not moving till he wakes up!” I declared.
Both the Earl and I took photographs and I just love the ones he took in the golden light.
I really wanted him to get up and walk but he was set to spend the night there. Only two other cars came after us. They took photographs and then moved on. Eventually, we left as the Earl was getting anxious about gate closing time. We made it back with five minutes to spare. I really hope the German tourists got to see the leopard on their sunset drive. We will never know!