We changed camps today going further north to Shingwedzi which is 108 kms from Letaba. Helen wanted to fit in one more run this week so she decided to do it before we left today. We also figured that leaving early is better than leaving late even though we would probably arrive well before the 2pm check in time. The early mornings are much better for game viewing. We headed out at 6:15am and the temperature was already 27 degrees. It was predicted to rise to 39 today.
The initial part of the game drive out of Letaba camp didn’t yield much but from about 10 km north onwards we were blown away by how much we saw. Without a doubt the most game we have seen on a drive. I always remembered the road between Letaba and Mopani to not yield much in the way of game but we saw big herds of elephant, buffalo, impala, zebra and wildebeest. We also saw black backed jackal at one the watering holes (along with warthog, zebra, impala, wildebeest and elephant).
The highlight of the morning drive was seeing a large male leopard walking along the side of the road (toward us), crossed over the road in front of us and then continued walking down the side of the road. As he headed toward a thicket, a grey duiker bolted from under a tree. It surprised Helen and I (because we hadn’t seen the duiker at all) and it seemed to surprise the leopard too. He just continued walking and then eventually settled into another thicket. He was so well disguised that if you were driving past you would never have seen him, yet he was only 5 meters from the road. We stayed for a few more minutes but it looked like he was settled in there for some time. I got some really good photos but I need to download them from my camera (which I will try to do tomorrow).
We stopped at Mopani for breakfast (it was 9am at this point). The view from the restaurant is over the dam. There was a herd of elephant swimming and frolicking (yes hard to believe but they were frolicking) in the water. It was quite entertaining to watch. The drive from Mopani to Shingwedzi yielded the same amount of game as the first part of the route. At one stage we couldn’t go 500 meters without seeing an elephant. We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn – stopping briefly for a selfie – while keeping an eye open for the elephant crossing in front of us and behind us (not kidding).
We got to Shingwedzi at 12:30pm and fortunately they gave us our key straightaway so we could unpack and spend the rest of the afternoon resting (Helen got 3 hours sleep in). Simple dinner of spaghetti Bolognese. I’m feeling pretty tired so finishing writing this and then off to sleep!
P & H