Breaking Free from Lockdown. A Gecko Road Trip. Day 23 Letaba to Olifants and Back

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Good morning. So you’re back for another virtual game drive? Welcome aboard. It’s a beautiful day today. No need for a fleece. No need for a jacket. The maximum promises to be in the late 20s.

The Everest is in the lead and we’re taking the H1-5. My, but it’s quiet. Do you see anything at all? Do hear the birds? Niks Nada Nothing. Let’s pull over here where we can see the river. Oh look down there

Some lovely waterbuck coming down for a drink

Let’s take another omrit to see what we can find. Scan with your binoculars. What a tranquil scene. In the distance a grey heron fishing for his breakfast. And right here look what we’ve got.

A terrapin sunbathing party
And another one on a patch of his own
There are lots of crocodiles lazing around too
And a hippo catching some rays

The riverside is busy this morning. There are lots of hippos, crocodiles, waterbuck, herons and Egyptian geese.

Where are Cathy and Alec – they haven’t caught up to us. Perhaps they took a different road. We’ll catch up with them later.

Look up there in that tree. Why is the Lilac-breasted roller acting so strangely? Train you binoculars on him.

Oh my – there are two. Get a room birds!

It’s a perfect day for love

It’s now 10:45 and we’re turning onto the S91 – the Balule Road. There is a bit of activity here too.

More waterbuck having a quiet day

At 11:15 we turn onto the S90 Oh – Stop. Let’s have a look at this reptile.

He looks pretty prehistoric to me!

Do you see how the yellow mongooses gives him a wide berth? They run away so quickly I can’t get a photo.

Stop again! A lovely kingfisher. We often see him perched quietly on a branch like this. Sometimes his call alerts us to his presence. Ki pi pi pi = Pity for me. Today he is silent.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

We’re coming to a low bridge now and there ahead of us are Cathy and Alec. Yes they came a different way.

Let’s see what these male waterbuck are up to.

Who’s the boss?

Hey – look what’s coming toward us!

Tall and Proud and not at all aggressive
The Gentle Giant walks off to browse
Such a handsome creature

Now we’re on the S89. There’s a car stopped on the other side of the road. The driver is pointing out of his window. Look left – omiword – a lion! Can you see him? He is very hidden behind a mesh of branches and grass.

I’m sorry – you just have to be grateful you got the smallest glimpse!
I’m sorry I didn’t show myself – but a guy has to remain invisible when hunting. Come again when I’m napping under a nice shady tree!

Sorry about that folks. Let’s see if we can find some other creatures to cheer you up. Oh look – the entertainers have arrived.

I think I need a pedicure
Yes, I’m quite comfortable, thank you
Who needs furniture when nature provides a suitable seat

What have we next. Look here comes a red-crested korhaan. And who is in his way?

Crowned lapwing not too charmed to be chased by Mr Korhaan

Now who is this giving us a hard stare!

Here’s looking at you too, Zebedee
Aww come on baby, look at us.
Fine – if you don’t like us – run off then!

Here we are on the bridge crossing over the Olifants River. We are allowed to get out between the yellow lines. Look through your binoculars way over there.

A journey of giraffe

And straight below us. Do you see that reed. There’s a pretty bird sitting perfectly still. It’s not easy to see.

White-fronted bee-eater

Please don’t lean over the railing. Look who’s waiting to eat you.

A hungry crocodile

Look to the left with your binoculars

Elephants crossing the Olifants

Come on now, we’re all hungry. Let’s go to Olifants Rest Camp for a drink and a snack. Alec and Cathy are going straight back to Letaba.

It is two o’clock. Those chicken wraps were lovely. Now we’re on the H8 and there is nothing much happening. Are you all feeling sleepy? My eyes refuse to stay open. Must keep looking for creatures – don’t fall asleep. ZZZZZZZZ

Oh no, sorry folks. I fell asleep and now I hear you calling – leopard! Look there he is but it’s not a leopard – it’s a cheetah. Oh no – he’s gone into the bush. I have missed the photo.

You know I am the fastest mammal in the bush – Don’t sleep when i’m around!

And on that disappointing note we end this game drive.

Alec and Cathy go out in the late afternoon. They want to watch the sunset from the bridge. Someone alerts them to a leopard so they go in search. They find him at the base of tree hidden by a mesh of dry grass.

Next time I promise to show myself properly

So all the cats let us down today. But never mind, there is always next time. Join us again soon.

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