The weather forecast was for overcast and rainy conditions the whole day. When we woke up it was only partly cloudy at that point. We decided to do the same route we did yesterday morning heading north then west and back south to camp again. The number of raptors had diminished a bit since yesterday but there were still a lot of them. About 10 kms up the road we saw a bunch of cars and as we drove up we saw a female lioness walking toward us (i.e. heading south). We probably got the best view of her as she was walking toward us still and then she veered deeper into the grass and was gone. Nice to see another lion again though – they have been somewhat sparse.
We stopped for our morning coffee and rusks at the dam again. C & J had given me a nifty car powered travel Nespresso machine. I had a hand powered one previously but after making two cups pumping my hands were really sore always. This thing you just pop in the pod, add the hot water, press the button and presto you have a cup of coffee. Video available for those you want to see it in operation!
We then headed back to camp using the dirt roads and around the same spot that we saw a leopard yesterday, we saw a leopard again. We assume it is probably the same one but this time there were far fewer cars, it was in a much more open spot and so we could get a better view of it and so we spent some time just watching it until some more cars arrived and then we decided to make way for them. A really nice sighting.
At one point on the drive we thought we were going to add no new birds to our trip list but fortunately we did see one new bird – Bronze Mannikin – before we got back to the camp. We spent the balance of the day in the camp but just sitting on our balcony we managed to 6 other trippers and a lifer. I saw the Grey Waxbill that H had seen 2 days ago. That actually takes my lifer list to 502 now (in updating everything I found there was another bird missing off the list). The game also came to us in that we saw impala, elephant, bushbuck and warthog all pass right in front of us – the latter two of this side of the fence. Fortunately our ‘friendly’ snake stayed away the whole day.
We went out at 4:15pm and decided to just head to the dam near the camp and just sit there for an hour or so. We were the only ones there to start with and then it seems we started a trend because the cars started to pile in (annoyingly). An elephant in a VERY grumpy mood came down to drink and mud-bath. He went into the river and trumpeted and thrashed around and finally crossed it. On that side 3 hippos had gotten out and were eating the grass. The elephant was highly unimpressed and charged at them and the hippos hightailed it back to the water. It was incredible to see how quickly they turned and ran and dove into the water. The drama continued because every time they stuck their heads up the elephant would trumpet and run forward. At one point of the hippos did a swan dive to get down into the water. It was hilarious to watch. The elephant kept thrashing at things – tried to pull a tree down, pulled out the grass and then threw it down. He really was in a foul mood but fortunately we were far enough away not to be concerned.
It started to rain while we at the dam and as it came down quite heavily we figured best to head back to camp and cook dinner. I should have turned on the stove before we left because when we started cooking it probably took 20 minutes for the pan to get hot (not exaggerating). We had decided not to braai because we knew it was likely to rain. Turned out to be the right decision. Chicken schnitzel for dinner could be done in a frying pan. It took so long to cook though, I reckon I could have built a fire and finished cooking before the pan got hot. At least we stayed dry though!
Until tomorrow … P & H
(Almost forgot – trip list up to 162 – target for trip is 200 so 38 to go – getting harder and harder though!).