Travel in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Moving Day

Thursday 19 November 2020

It is quarter to five. I wake to the sound of the dawn chorus and drag myself off to the ablutions. Today is moving day. It takes just under an hour to pack up and get ready to move. Maureen and Jim drop round to say farewell. They will continue on at Satara and we arrange to meet at Olifants Camp for breakfast tomorrow.

It is already quite hot when we leave at five past six. We stick to the tar road as we are towing.

The first creatures to greet us are some wildebeest and zebra. A car up ahead is looking intently at them. We pass by and I say, “He’s looking rather intently – perhaps he is seeing something else. The Earl obediently stops.

You nearly missed me

Yes we nearly miss her but we watch and follow as she continues on her mission. The other car drives off.

And this is who we see.

Thanks to the other car for alerting us to a lovely hyaena sighting. Sorry he missed the second one.

Soon we find ourselves in the land of mopane trees. Spotting game in amongst them is not easy but they are very pretty. In some parts we are next to the Letaba River and from time to time we spot a few things.

Mr Saddle-bill Stork
Waterbuck in their favourite habitat
A lovely Fish Eagle

I am sitting next to the back left passenger window. My head is down checking my photographs. The Earl comes to a sudden halt. Terrified, I look up and see Horace Hyaena staring me straight in the eye.

As I lift my camera, he saunters off.

The Earl is laughing. “I didn’t realise I was looking at a creature until this rock moved!” Next we come upon a herd of buffalo crossing the road and slipping behind the Mopanes

Bartholomew studies me and apologises for the fright Horace gave me. Hyaenas are like that, he says.

It’s eight o’clock when we arrive at Letaba. We check in and find a suitable campsite under the shady Mopanes. We need to fill the caravans water tanks and there is a tap nearby. The Earl un-hitches the caravan, takes out the hose and finds it is not long enough! But he is a man with a plan and although the roof is already up and the stands are down he decides to tow the caravan into position to reach the tap. He lifts the stands, hitches up again and I guide him forward. He then fills the tanks and reverses back to our original spot. I am most grateful as this will save me going to the camp kitchen to wash up.

With the setting up complete we are now thirsty and hungry. We go to the restaurant for breakfast.

The usual Covid protocols are strictly adhered to

Letaba’s Tindlovu restaurant has a wonderful view across the valley. Sadly it is quite dry and much rain is still needed.

View from the deck
The breakfast is excellent

The internet is down and the card machine does not work. The Earl leaves his name and number and promises to come back later as we don’t have cash.

We go for a game drive and decide to stop in at Olifant’s camp, 32 km away. Letaba’s shop burned down a few weeks ago and has still not been rebuilt. We can shop at Olifant’s and get cashback if they’re unaffected by the internet disaster. How reliant we have become on modern technology, even in the African bush!

We do not see much on our drive there – it is already very hot – 41 degrees C. At Olifants we buy a few groceries and get some cash from the check-out. Then we go to the deck where you can look down on the Olifant’s River

Spot the hippo out of the water

We then go to the petrol station to refuel. The attendant notices the left front tyre looks a bit soft. He checks it and finds it has a puncture which he plugs for us. What a star for noticing.

On our drive back we have a few interesting sightings but mostly in the distance making photography tricky. Here are just a few I can’t resist showing you.

William Waterbuck is wondering what Gregory Goliath is doing.
Sammy Southern Black Tit has caught his lunch
Not a wonderful photograph but the sun catching Mr Violet-back is quite beautiful.

There is a workshop at Letaba and when we return the Earl takes the car there so they can properly fix the puncture. Our spare is a ‘biscuit’ and we don’t want to drive in the park on that! The Earl is very impressed with the service he receives from the workshop.

Letaba is a beautiful, shady campsite and the facilities are the best we have had so far.

Shady Mopanes
Gecko 81 all set up
Camp Kitchen
Four two-plate stoves and a microwave as well as boiling water syphon
Two sinks
Coin op Laundry
Adequate sized shower, a bench and three strong hooks for hanging clothes and towel
Big basins
Make-up and hair-drying area

Letaba camp is famous for its owls especially the Scops Owl which resides in the mapane trees. This morning a neighbour who was about to leave told us that they had seen the owl in the tree under which we set up.

This evening as we prepare our braai we hear an owl but it is not the call of the scops.

The braai is on the go when we hear the owlet call
Other campers hear the call too and one of them finds the pearl spotted in our tree and points him out to me (Correction – it is a barred owlet)

Later we hear the Scops but it is too dark to find him. Tomorrow we shall look again.

4 thoughts on “Travel in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Moving Day

  1. Anne

    What pestilence is causing the burning of SANPARKS buildings? The shop at the Storms River Mouth has also recently burnt down and the restaurant that burned down yonks ago has still not been rebuilt – it is still run from a large tent!


  2. de Wets Wild

    Wonderful to hear of the great service you got from the mechanics at Letaba – that was also our experience when we had trouble with a burst radiator in a very hot February almost 12 years ago!

    Letaba’s elephant museum is one of our favourite places to visit in the Park. We never give it a skip.

    Liked by 1 person


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