Breaking Free from Lockdown – A Gecko Road Trip Day 11 Shingwedzi

We enjoyed another beautiful warm day in the Kruger National park today. At 7 o’clock when we awoke it was 12 degrees C and by the time left for our game drive just after 8 it had risen to 19 and continued to climb until a maximum of 30 degrees C. Sitting outdoors in the evenings is also very pleasant and we have not even needed fleeces before 8 pm.

This morning we travelled the H1-7, S56 and S57 with S56 being the most productive for birds. We travelled in tandem with Cathy and Alec and kept in touch with walkie talkies which have a range of about three kilometres.

Our first adventure began early on the H1-7

The elephants were out in full force and were determined to block our way on several occasions
They seemed to enjoy terrorising us

Our route took us along the S56 which was good for birds and mamals.

Our first good sighting of Swainson’s Spurfowl this trip
This cutie must be a female weaver of some sort – perhaps a red-headed weaver?
Wanda Wood-dove tried to her face but showed her emerald spots beautifully (Emerald-spotted Wood Dove)
And I think this cheeky chap flicking his tail at me is a tawny-flanked prinia
Jameson’s firefinch posed pettily

There is an African proverb that goes, “If vultures surround you try not to die!” It seems horrible that vultures eat dead things but in nature they are invaluable because they help control disease spreading by eating creatures that have died. They are nature’s rubbish disposers. There were lots around this morning but we did not find any dead bodies.

A gathering of white-backed and lappet-faced vultures.

The river is mostly dry with ponds of water in places. It was lovely to see a line of zebra using it as a road to wherever they were going.

I’m tired, can’t I just take a nap in the warm river bed?
No – come on now – get up or you’ll be left behind.
Sally Saddlebill is wondering where the river’s water has gone!

As we returned on the road next to the river we saw two hippos enjoy what water there was.

And a crocodile looked on
A huge herd of elephants came down to drink

We spent the heat of the day in camp and after a lunch of tuna mayonnaise salad, went out again at quarter past three. We wanted to make sure we got back well before the six o’clock gate closing time. So we took the S52 to Red Rocks and then turned around at half past four without actually finding the lookout! We’d missed the loop and by the time we realised our mistake we were in a hurry to get back to camp. But we enjoyed the creatures we met on the way there and back.

We haven’t seen all that many wildebeest and until today I have not taken a decent photograph of one. Today this guy obliged and sends his regards to my friend, Erich in Australia.

Hi Erich , I’m waiting for you here in Africa. Miss you buddy!
And this one is for bushboy who loves birds. White-fronted Bee-eater
This is for Heather, who when she first saw one just loved their eyes. Double-banded Sandgrouse
Male with female hiding behind him
If it’s not Elephants then it’s giraffe blocking our way!
The sweetest baby giraffe
Mr and Mrs Saddle-bill dropped in just before we entered the gate
View up the river

For dinner we had delicious beef kebabs, baked potato and salad. Cathy treated us to jelly infused with fruit and served with custard for dessert – just delicious.

Thank you all for following and a special thanks to the Gecko Group who have posted such kind comments on our WhatsApp group.

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