Breaking Free from Lockdown. A Gecko Road Trip. Day 24 Last Day at Letaba

18 August 2021

Report on the facilities at Letaba

What a great week we have had at Letaba Rest Camp. We were reasonably happy with the facilities. There are two ablution blocks. The bigger one was closer to our site. It has two showers, two baths , three toilets and four wash basins. The other has two showers, two toilets and two wash basins. The bigger ablution was closer to us but when we found all the showers occupied we used the other one which seemed to be less busy. The smaller one did not have mixer taps in the shower so getting the water to the correct temperature was a little trickier. Both ablutions were kept neat and tidy by staff. However, this year private schools who worked online through Lockdown were given their holidays in August and we found that children were left unsupervised to shower and some did not clean up after themselves. We blame the campers for the mess and not the staff. Some days you would find an untidy bathroom but on others it was pristine.

The camp kitchens like most in the park have hydroboils, sinks, hotplates and a microwave oven. Once again neatness and cleanliness depended on who was there before you. As I’ve mentioned before, come prepared with your own kitchen cleaning equipment.

The laundry, I am pleased to report, had two working washing machines and two working tumble dryers. When using the park laundries be sure to have a supply of R2 and R5 coins as the newer machines work with the new R5 coins and the older with R2 coins. At Punda Maria a wash and dry costs R16,00 At Shingwedzi and Letaba it is R 20. I believe that at most of the camps the cost is R20 for a wash and dry, but at Berg en Dal it would be R40.

Letaba is a shady, restful camp. We heard Scops, Pearl Spotted and Barred Owls calling at night. As we had a perimeter site we could see the animals on the other side of the fence and were pleased to have elephants, impala and waterbuck visit. A hyaena patrolled past the fence every evening. We will certainly be sad to leave Letaba tomorrow morning.

Today’s Game Drive

It was rather chilly when we left camp this morning at 8 o’clock but it soon warmed up and the maximum temperature today was over 30 degrees C. We went out for a couple of hours and returned at 11 o’clock and then the Earl cooked us omelettes for brunch. The rest of the day we spent doing chores and relaxing. The Earl cooked a lamb curry for dinner and then we packed up the canopies and got the caravans ready for an early departure tomorrow.

The Earl wanted to follow the H1-6 and S62 today as he thought they would be good for bird watching. We did not have great sightings but I will share what we did see.

Early on in our drive we saw a strange but familiar looking bird in a tree. Some white-crested helmet shrikes flew into the same tree causing the mystery bird to change his position and give us more clues as to who he was.

That stripy face looks familiar. Please show us your chest so I can be sure you are who I think you are.
Weil, I am a bird. Why shouldn’t I be in a tree even if my name is Groundscraper Thrush

Some Kudu caused a roadblock as they crossed over to browse on the other side.

On the bridge we got out to look at the view.

It looks like there is nothing there until you look carefully through binoculars
There were several black-winged stilts
White-fronted Bee-eater

We spent some time at the Matambeni Hide. We did not see many birds.

A tranquil scene
Lazy crocodiles were everywhere
I’m sure this male waterbuck knew we were watching him
So he turned his back on us
The hippos grunted and snorted and enjoyed wallowing in the water
Arrow-marked Babbler

Tomorrow we will make an early departure and hope to find a good caravan site at Satara. Hopefully, we won’t have too many roadblocks as we make our way there. Good night and thanks for reading.

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