Breaking Free from Lockdown – A Gecko Road Trip Day 8 – Punda Maria

Once again we had a beautiful warm sunny day today. To us, from the cold and wet Western Cape, it felt like summer. At 4 pm it was 30 degrees C and even after the sun had set we sat outdoors without jackets.

Our morning drive started at 8:15 and we were back at camp by 11:15.
Just outside camp on the H13-1 we saw quite a few female kudu and continued to see lots of kudu in large groups for the rest of the day.

This one knew she had right of way and did not look before she crossed

The H13-1 was quite active with birds but we heard more than we could see and when we did see them they refused to settle quietly for a photo. I was, however, delighted to see a flock of white-crested helmet shrikes and one obliged by sitting still for a few seconds.

I know I’m gorgeous, now hurry up and take my portrait
A sabota lark was in a good mood

Everybody who follows my travel blogs knows I love giraffe. Today. several came out to say howdy.

We’re not trying to hide. We’re just enjoying our leafy breakfast.
Don’t we make a pretty picture
Just ignore her – she’s always snapping that camera
This one stuck her tongue out at The Earl

At 9:20 we turned onto the Ndzuondzwini Loop. Soon we found a huge herd of kudu and impala and in the distance some waterbuck too. We sat and watched them drinking and browsing and grazing. Sometimes they would all stop and stand perfectly still all looking in the same direction. We think they were aware of a predator in the area. They could certainly sense something. After a while they relaxed and continued with their breakfast and entertained us with their activities.

Hi there, come down and join us
These two had a dispute to sort out. Impy ignored them

While we watched the buck interacting we were unaware that a bull elephant had appeared on the scene. I happened to look to the left and there he was.

Eventually all the kudu and impala left the scene and disappeared into the bush. The elephant soon lumbered off too so we moved on but stopped when we spotted an interesting bird.

Brown Snake-eagle – Photo by Earl

We continued to see the usual suspects – more giraffe, zebra and birds who refused to pose, before returning to camp. Cathy and Alec had also gone for a short drive and were back at the same time. The Earl cooked us some lovely scrambled eggs for breakfast and we only went out again at 3:30 pm.

These are the highlights of the afternoon drive.

A very busy hoopoe
Golden-breasted Bunting
Green Woodhoopoe

Baobab trees lose their leaves in winter but Spring is just around the corner and so some are beginning to wake up for the summer.

A Baobab Tree – Half wearing winter uniform and the other already sporting summer clothes
Red-billed Hornbill by Earl
Saddle-billed Stork – immature
African Sunset

The sun was just going down when we arrived back at camp and as we parked I noticed two men staring up into the tree under which the Gecko is set up. I asked what they’d seen and they said it could be a Gabar Goshawk. I could only locate it after a few minutes of their careful direction. “Perhaps it’s a Shikra,” I suggested and we checked my Roberts App. Indeed it was and they were delighted. Well, so was I! A shikra in my tree!

HI there Helen, I just thought I’d drop by to see you.

It was my turn to do dinner tonight so I brought out my trusty Remoska pot and made a chicken casserole with lots of veggies.

7 thoughts on “Breaking Free from Lockdown – A Gecko Road Trip Day 8 – Punda Maria

  1. Anne

    A good day out: you do it the best way for a long-term stay – out in the mornings and evenings. This isn’t tiring and there are usually plenty of birds especially to see around the rest camps.



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