Both Gecko 82 and Gecko 109 find that they’re running short of supplies. The temporary Park Shop is not as well stocked as the previous lovely one would have been. They have no stocks of wine (horror!) and what alcohol they do sell is more expensive than elsewhere so the disgruntled campers decide to go to Phalaborwa to restock at Pick ‘n’ Pay.
After a leisurely cup of coffee, making notes and gathering themselves together they leave in tandem to make the one and half hour drive to the town. The radio crackles and Alec complains, “What’s going on here? We’ve been driving for 20 minutes and not a creature in sight.” They complete the journey after spotting an zebra or two, a lilac-breasted roller and a few white-crested Helmetshrikes who really didn’t want their portraits taken.
It doesn’t take too long to complete their chores but breakfast at the Spur is less than satisfactory. People who arrive after them are served first and it is forty five minutes before their order is brought – and that is only after they complain. So they are not in the best of moods and cannot wait to get back to the tranquility of The Kruger National Park!
Perhaps the creatures realise that these Gecko owners need some excitement. “Let’s make an appearance and give them a bit of an adrenaline rush,” the mischievous animals scheme together.
Alec stops when he sees what’s up ahead. “Road block,” he calls on the walkie-talkie.
The Earl comes up alongside his friend and they discuss what they should do. The Earl decides to sneak forward to see what happens.
Then another one emerges from the left.
The Earl is not afraid but his terrified wife screams and almost drops the camera as she videos the scene. Alec reverses at top speed to make room for the Everest’s escape. But Oom Olifant is just messing with them and doesn’t continue the charge. Eventually both ellies go off into the bush, probably laughing their heads off. Everyone breathes a big sigh of relief.
When the Earl stops to photograph a zebra, Alec overtakes and is once again in front.
Alec calls on the walkie-talkie – Fish eagle to the right.
The Ranger moves on while Helen takes some photos of the fish eagle.
The Ranger is already quite far ahead when the Earl stops again. He’s seen two warthogs in the bush. “Look there,” he says. “Behind that bush. Get the photo!”
“It’s no good,” I can’t. “Oh wait, reverse, no forward. Darn – they’ve gone!”
By this time the Ranger is out of range and doesn’t hear the call to come back for the next sighting.
The Earl is driving quickly to catch up to his friend. “Stop! Go back. Look!’ Helen calls excitedly
He then crosses the road behind the car and walks in the opposite direction.
The Earl reverses so Helen can photograph him.
So that lovely sighting gives them enough of an adrenaline rush to last for the rest of the day.
Their journey is almost over but just before reaching Letaba Rest Camp a noisy troop of close relatives appears.
Alec and Cathy are already unpacking the shopping when Earl and Helen arrive. The afternoon is spent sorting out the caravans, doing laundry etc. At four o’clock Alec and Cathy go out for a short drive. They find a bateleur couple acting strangely in the river bed.
Today the temperature reaches a maximum of 24 degrees C. The evening is somewhat cooler but still warm enough to enjoy an outdoor braai. It is a lovely way to end the day.