I was wrong about yesterday. It wasn’t at all hot. Quite a mild day actually. Especially if you consider it was 39 degrees today at 4:20pm! Not kidding. Michael and I went out for an early morning drive this morning (everyone else was too lazy and slept in) when we left at 6am it was 11.5 degrees. By the time we returned at 7:15am it was 23.5 degrees. Now I studied geography and science at school and I am still puzzled how it can be possible that the temperature can rise that quickly in an hour and a quarter. Surely that is not possible?! By the time we were on the road heading south it was 27 degrees (at 8am) and it hit 30 degrees at 9am.
We had a drive from Bateleur down to Letaba for our last night stop before heading home tomorrow. It was about a 110 km drive. First 20 km on gravel to the main road. Would be ideally suited to allow someone like Michael to drive if he had a license. As it was already very hot the game life was sparse and really only around the waterholes. There was quite a lot of game around the waterholes though including Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Impala & Warthog. We did add Tssebee to our trip list as well today (also seen at a waterhole). And after all the drives today we are at 105 birds for the trip and we still haven’t seen some common ones we ought to have seen (like sunbirds). It isn’t that we haven’t seen a variety of bird life, we have, the problem has been that as soon as it gets too hot you see nothing as everything is sheltering from the sun.
We did have one highlight from today and that was just outside Mopani camp. About a km outside of the camp we saw a number of cars parked. Sure sign of something big going on. As we got closer we saw a dead Impala but nothing else. After asking a grumpy continental European, it turned out that a cheetah had killed it 4 hours earlier (at 6:15am) but then had been frightened off by the cars and had not been seen again. We searched for a while and didn’t see anything so headed into Mopani Camp for a pitstop and ice creams. After we were finished we went back to see if anything was happening and sure enough in the 15 minutes we had been away the cheetah and come and taken the impala and now we couldn’t see either. We drove up and down, reversed a few times and finally Helen spotted the cheetah under/behind a tree & bush eating. We all got to see her/him (not sure which but I will call it a she) and then she lay down not to be see again. I remember reading/hearing that when a cheetah kills she is so tired that she can’t eat for some time afterwards and that is probably what happened. She was exhausted for 4 hours and then finally got her strength back to start eating. It did make a good highlight for the day.
We got to Letaba just after midday and fortunately we could get our rondavels immediately as we needed to be indoors with the aircon on! That wasn’t even enough for the boys who decided the freezer was the only way to resolve their heat problem! We have two rondavels (one 2 bed and one 3 bed). The boys are in the 2 bed and a reasonable distance away from us. The joys of having teenagers – they don’t care at all that we aren’t close by anymore. We did have supper together which was slightly challenging as there were only 4 chairs, a small table and 4 knives/forks but we still managed to make it work. And we were able to compare our fire with everyone else’s and of course ours was the best (though some guy did have an impressive bonfire happening!). As we had run out of foil we pretty much ate meat for supper but as it was so hot no one seemed to care.
As we have to be up early tomorrow to ensure we get back for our flight in time we are all in bed already. Until tomorrow (and the last blog for this trip).
PS: @Sharon – Stephen says he wasn’t looking at the cleavage. Not sure what he was looking at but I suggest you or Lara ask him when we get back.