Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger -The Best from Shingwedzi

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.

IMG_5701 Steenbok 2019-11-29 7-48-50 AM
Lovely to see a grysbok
IMG_5717 Impala with Buffalo in the background 2019-11-29 8-25-55 AM
Always good to see a mixture of game together.   Impala and buffalo
IMG_5724 Brown Snake-eagle 2019-11-29 9-29-13
A Brown Snake-eagle posed for his portrait
IMG_5735 Black-crowned Tchagra 2019-11-29 10-43-01 AM
At last, I captured a shot of a Black-crowned Tchagra
IMG_5739
Bottoms up!
IMG_5751 Eland 2019-11-29 11-13-34 AM
Eland are not very common in the park so seeing these too was a real thrill
IMG_5762 Buffalo lying down grumpy 2019-11-29 11-23-09 AM
Mr Grumpy scowled at us
IMG_5763 Waterbuck under tree 2019-11-29 11-24-07 AM
Waterbuck found a shady resting spot
IMG_5780 Pod of hippo 2019-11-29 11-48-12 AM
As we drove next to the river a lot of hippos were seen

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!

P1180918 Fish Eagle and Waterbuck 2019-11-29 4-46-29 PM 2019-11-29 4-46-29 PM.JPG
I rather like the Earl’s photo of a Fish Eagle and a female waterbuck
IMG_5796 Elephants back view 2019-11-29 4-46-06 PM
Elephant mums and elephant bums
IMG_5798 Mom and Baby Elephant 2019-11-29 4-46-18 PM
Mum and Baby Elephants
P1180910.JPG
Pass the dental floss, please

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.

IMG_5824 The scene of the leopard 2019-11-29 5-45-31 PM
Can you see it?

“‘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.

IMG_5810 Leopard asleep next to puddle 2019-11-29 5-35-42 PM
For ten long minutes, he did not move a muscle, twitch an ear or flick a tail.
IMG_5812 Leopard waking up 2019-11-29 5-36-22 PM
And then he opened his eyes
IMG_5813 Leopard wiping face 2019-11-29 5-37-05 PM
And wiped his face
IMG_5814 Leopard paw 2019-11-29 5-37-08 PM
Oh, those kitty paws!
IMG_5816 Leopard head up 2019-11-29 5-39-33 PM
Please leave me in peace!
IMG_5829 Leopard up and alert 2019-11-29 5-47-08 PM
I know I’m gorgeous

Both the Earl and I took photographs and I just love the ones he took in the golden light.

P1180923 Leopard alert Earl 2019-11-29 5-58-33 PM
I’m comfortable here
P1180928 Leopard head on paws Earl 2019-11-29 6-01-23 PM
Why is everyone staring at me
P1180932 Leopard sleepy Earl 2019-11-29 6-08-59 PM
I need more sleep!
P1180933 Leopard face on Earl 2019-11-29 6-09-04 PM
Can you all leave now, please!

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!

 

Published by puppy1952

I am making the most of the South African Lifestyle and hope with my blog to share some of the adventures my husband and I are having in our retirement. We live at the Southern Tip of Africa in the small coastal town of Struisbaai. Earl and I have a Gecko off-road caravan and we travel around South Africa frequently. We are bird and wild life enthusiasts so are often in game reserves.

4 thoughts on “Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger -The Best from Shingwedzi

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