I’m trying to register on the Old Mutual website.
Using a password with lower case letters and numbers:
OK, let’s up the security on the password generator and use a password with upper case and punctuation:
That’s a first.
From OMNI magazine, somewhere in the eighties. Recently rediscovered and scanned.
The bible gives us 70 years. Anything more is a bonus.
Unfortunately Andre Roussimof’s more than 200 kilos, 7’4″ body was never destined to make it that far. He died back in 1993.
He would have turned 70 today.
We were invited for three nights at Boulders Lodge, but Tanya couldn’t get more leave, so we had to leave on the Sunday, see how far we could get, and then complete the drive home on Monday (which was a public holiday, “Family Day” aka Easter Monday).
So we left as early as possible, which gave us the road and this pack of hyenas all to ourselves.
It was still pretty dark, as you can see. Tanya’s camera coped better than mine.
Down the H1-5 we found a clump of cars, people pointing. Three lionesses, although we can only really claim seeing two.
About 300m from the road.
I spotted the likkewaan crossing the road, made a quick U-turn so that Tanya could get pictures.
The southern part of the Kruger is cat country. Saw this male lion under a tree.
And a bit further on, an unknown number of females and cubs. We didn’t stop for long, the road ahead was calling.
This is the tiniest little elephant ever. Must be very very new.
And from there it was pretty uneventful. Left Malelane gate around 14:00, drove straight past Hananja on the way back (it was dark already) and got to Bloemfontein at around 23:00. Booked into the Sun 1 (the hotel formerly known as Formula 1) which is inexpensive and more than adequate most times (this time, the water was fine the evening but cold when we got up at 06:00, so I skipped the morning shower and we hit the road).
Got home late-ish Monday afternoon. All’s well what ends well and all of that.
Tanya’s brother is a big birder. He told us that yellow-billed oxpeckers are somewhat rare (apparently at some stage they were considered extinct in South Africa), but that he had spotted one. So we went out and spotted one too.
Someone’s been feeding the turtles.
I stopped the car and these fellows came charging, some all the way from the other side of the pool. Then they just sit there looking at you. If they could, they’d get in the car.
Hyenas can of course get in the car, which is why it’s a bad idea to teach them that food comes from tin cans with wheels.
Just don’t feed the animals. You’re making them into welfare recipients.
Back up the H1-6 towards Mopani we came across a pile of cars. Eventually found what they were staring at.
If I’m not mistaken that might be a lion (in my days in Boy Scouts, we had reasons for animals being named the way they are. The lion is the only clean one I can remember. They’re called lion because most of the time, they’re just lion there).
This being the only feline spotted so far, and it being around three in the afternoon, we decided to wait.
They say that young women tend to compare their boyfriends… equipment *cough* to that of their brothers’.
Well, I stand absolutely no chance.
Much later (OK, three quarters of an hour or so later) there are signs of life.
What is it I spot over there?
Looks like a tree.
Good. I’m not called a lion for nothing you know.
Shingwedzi for lunch. S50 up. H1-6 back down.
Kori Bustard. This is the heaviest flying bird in Africa, maybe in the world (the UK Great Bustard is also a contender for the title). They run over 20 kilograms sometimes, I’m told.
Tsessebe are quite rare in the park, so finding a small herd with calves was nice.
We found this tusker next to the H1-6 south of Shingwedzi.
After popping in to Mopani for a quick loo break we were off to Boulders Lodge, an exclusive non-fenced lodge south of Mopani. It consists of a large living area and six double rooms, sleeping a maximum of twelve people (but you can book the whole place out for as few as four people).
Some elephants came to visit.
We decided to go to Letaba for breakfast, past the maybe-dead zebra foal. Turns out he was fine. Just past that, at Twisappel, I saw something sitting — thought it might be a leopard, but it turned out to be a jackal — two of them in fact.
This is at full zoom + digital … they were far away.
Here they are on the sunny side of the vlei.
Tanya’s brother had told us that there’s a dead hippo close to Letaba so we went looking for it.
The hippo skin is so thick that the vultures can’t get inside.
The central to northern part of the park is better for birds, not so good for cats.
Look at the wingspan on that thing.
This little fellow took forever to cross the road.
This fellow was slightly quicker.
Up early, on the road, and into Kruger.
Now normally the first thing you see inside the park is a herd of impala. Pretty much guaranteed.
Not this time. The doggies had already picked up a following.
We didn’t bother joining the parade, but I’m pretty sure they followed the pack all the way back to Phabeni gate.
Look at this plonker. There’s a herd of elephant just off the side of the road, look where the Land-Rover is looking. Makes for a good selfie, no?
I had the camera ready to film the carnage which sadly didn’t happen.
More (different) rhino.
And also the little(r) things.
The Kruger was very dry. Look at this poor hippo in a mudhole barely bigger than he is.
We drove up via Skukuza, Satara, Letaba all the way to Mopani, where we were booked in for two nights. It’s a long but very scenic drive.
Marabou stork. I grew up on Huppelkind.
Not that far from Mopani, around 16:30, we came across a herd of zebras. This little fellow seemed to have given up on life, so I decided to come back early the next morning — a dead foal should attract some predators for a photo-op.