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10th Day - 25 August, 2010

RogerH's picture
10th Day - 25 August, 2010

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10th Day – 25 August, 2010

We got a fairly early start, and while Jen was in the store, hitting the Magic Money Machine (ATM) I noticed that the headlights were doing a nice job of illuminating this lovely cluster of flowers, which we later found out are called Impala Lilies.

We headed out to the Olifants River Outlook, again, but it was starting off as a pretty overcast day, and nothing was moving.   The view of the river itself, though, is quite spectacular, with or without wildlife.

As we headed north along the Letaba River we came to Von Weilligh’s Baobab Tree.

I don’t know who Von Weilligh was, but this is his tree!

This male Impala was very close to the road

and gave us the opportunity to show how ornate and lovely his horns are.  They are, after all, primarily for decoration and attracting the ladies!

We never ceased to marvel at the beauty of the Kudus, particularly the males, and seldom passed up an opportunity to stop and admire them.

This guy was obviously eyeing this clump of tasty young leaves,

and a few seconds later it was gone!

Further along the river was a small group of Hippos, one of whom had a hitch-hiker on it’s back, a Great Egret.  (I think)

This pair of Steenbok

were browsing next to the road and paused to watch us watch them.  Sometimes the critters seemed to be as fascinated by us as we were by them.

Note the size of the tusks on this big guy.

Though we would have liked to have gotten more pictures of him, we weren’t terribly disappointed that he was going the other way!

Whenever you are traveling near rivers or other bodies of water, you will see trails crossing the road which were obviously made by animals.  From one of the rangers, we learned the difference between ordinary animal trails, and hippo trails, such as this one.

The hippo trails, if you look closely, consist of two parallel ruts or grooves, which they leave because they drag their feet.  In places there will still be grass growing in the middle, just like one of our dirt roads.  While they spend their days in or very close to the water, at night they will travel upwards of 20 km. in search of tender grass to graze upon.  At first light, they head back to the water they came from, and many people have lost their lives because they happened to be using one of these trails and got between a hippo and his water.  They are an extremely dangerous animal, very aggressive towards humans, and are responsible for over 200 deaths per year. 

We are not 100% sure of our ID on this bird

but believe it to be a Spotted Dikkop, possibly immature.  Any help with this ID would be appreciated.

This female Impala,

laying just off the road, appeared to be VERY pregnant.  At least, she was VERY wide!

As we came around a curve in the road, near Engelhard Dam, this very large bull Elephant walked out of the bush and straight down the road, toward us

causing Jen to frantically search for reverse gear, while I clicked away with the camera.  Before he got to us, however, he swerved off and into the bush (good thing, cuz she never did find reverse) and the last we saw of him

he was still trying to make up his mind which one of these small trees he was going to have for lunch!

We stopped at Letaba Camp to pick up some things at the store, and had to take this picture

of a garden of succulents near the gate.  The large plant in the middle is some species of Aloe.

Shortly after leaving Letaba we came across this small group of Zebra

who somewhat reluctantly agreed to share their road with us.

This section of the Letaba River Road, west of Letaba reminds me for all the world of some roads we have in the southern US, called Red Georgia Clay.

(right, Cowboy?)

We reached the Mingerhaut Dam

in the early afternoon, and headed down the river, back toward Letaba.  A short time later, we came across this scene

which, the more we looked, the more we were amazed.  A herd of 50 or so female Impala was being watched over by a lone Kudu bull.  As they moved along, he followed, so it  was quite obvious that this was not just an accidental crossing of ways.

Was he just confused?  I don’t think so.  Nature never ceases to amaze.

As we continued along down the nearly dry riverbed the scenery sometimes would take your breath away.

There were many turnouts on this road, and at one of them we found this pair of Doublebanded Sandgrouse.

The male, as is usual with birds, has the brighter coloration.

Here we have a family of Baboons, crossing the road in front of us,

while Zebra graze nearby.

Bringing up the rear, this large male

looked more than capable of taking care of whatever business needed taking care of!

Nearby a vervet monkey

was spending his afternoon sitting on a log.

More scenic views

awaited us as we moved on down the river, as well as this lone Elephant

who was making his way up the river.

A little further along, another semi-panic stop was brought on by a group of Giraffes

trimming the trees alongside the road.  This hansom male

seemed to be batting his eyelashes at Jen, and hence, we had to have another Giraffe pic!

Here, a Great Egret

was intently peering at something in the water, but didn’t go after it while we were watching.

Two Cape Buffalo

watched us pass, and in the dwindling light we got our last look of the day at the river.





Impala                                                           Kudu

Hippo                                                             Steenbok

Elephant                                                        Zebra

Turtle                                                             Baboons

Vervet Monkey                                            Giraffes

Cape Buffalo


Emerald Spotted Dove                               Marabou Stork

Great Egret                                                   Spotted Dikkop ?

Yellow Billed Kite                                         Doublebanded Sandgrouse

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RogerH's picture

Thank you, Janine!  First

Thank you, Janine!  First birds, now plants!  Next I'll test you on a snake! 

Member of the All Critters, Large And Small (Except Olive Toads) Fan Club. Seen so far, ellie, rhino, buffalo, zeb, wildee, baboons, warthogs, giraffe, impala, lion, kudu, hyena, jackal, monkey, mongoose, leopard, hippo, lots of birds.

Janine's picture

Plants Aloe aculeata  and

Plants Aloe aculeata  and the one next to it is the Strelitzia regina (the bushy leafy one)

katip's picture

Your travel story gave me a

Your travel story gave me a great day, I was there although sitting in my study!  I went through all parts at one time! Animals in every curve of the road, beautiful landscapes, colors of the nature and not the least the flowing narrative. Just fine photos! Thank you for the experience!

Dawning's picture

Wonderful photos and

Wonderful photos and commentary....some of the best I've ever seen.  One gets such a realistic view of that beautiful country,  so rugged, awesome and natural. 


Thank you, Roger. Smile

Save America's beautiful wild horses.

Fani's picture

Roger ...can I ask for a

Roger ...can I ask for a favour ...I'm sure everyone will like it LOL

Can you post blog entries for every trip you do ...even it is exactly outside of your home ...

I feel like  I was a child and I was looking forward for my grandmother to return of her trips and then to tell all the stories she had..with the help of card postals ...Siiigh ...(she died before three months on age of 100)

Thank you Roger ...I appreciate so much what you do for us Smile

donnabac's picture

Ancient lands and beautiful

Ancient lands and beautiful captures. I don't want this journey to end Smiling


janirry1958's picture

Another great blog and

Another great blog and pictures Roger, thank you for sharing.

Janine's picture

Lovey pics Roger the bird

Lovey pics Roger the bird you are asking about is a juvinile Red Crested Korhaan (the bird which does a tumble display for mating purposes)

Ruby's picture

I look forward to and enjoy

I look forward to and enjoy reading your entries so much. I'll be sad when you've reached the conclusion, but I'll have the pleasure of revisiting your travels on your blog. Thank you, again, for sharing your lovely photos and descriptions!

Mavis's picture

Another WOW blog entry

Another WOW blog entry Roger!!!

Great pictures as always!

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