I woke up early, made an espresso (I brought my little Bialetti) and drank it on the veranda of our bungalow. This is exactly how I would like to wake up every morning.
We stayed at a perimeter bungalow (no 89). It has a great view of the bush and because the rubbish tip is located a few hundred meters away you get to see vultures and marabou storks throughout the day.
While I was sipping coffee and eating ouma rusks I saw 3 rock monitors, a couple of fire finches, butterflies and a pair of mourning doves. Here’s a pic of one of the rock monitors, the largest of the three.
If you look carefully you can see its forked tongue below. It uses its tongue to smell its way around.
Then Foeke woke up and we went for a drive.
The drive took us to Mooiplaas waterhole on the S50.
It was almost midday, so light conditions weren’t too good for photography, but lots of animals were hanging around. We saw quite a large herd of Tsessebe. This one here was galloping all over the place.
Storks were foraging for insects and earthworms I think.
Daisy giving me the evil eye.
This tusker needed a scratch
Tsessebe having lunch
Speaking of lunch. We had lunch at Mopani restaurant, where the Carmine Bee-eaters gave an arial show. We spent quite some time watching them. Got a whole series of little blurry flying things. Managed to snap this one though.
A Woodland Kingfisher woke us up on Christmas Day. How’s that for a Christmas present?
We had a relaxed breakfast on our veranda, taking our time – not having to check out until 10. It was already getting pretty hot and humid. After cleaning and packing up, we drove off with the airco on to cool off a bit. The plan was to drive to Sirheni via Shingwedzi, where we would stop for lunch.
We passed the Tropic of Capricorn, just north of Mopani and took the obligatory tourist photo. We were in the tropics! We almost melted when we got out the car, so we quickly went back inside. (Wikipedia says the tropic drifts north at the rate of almost half a second of latitude, which is about 15 metres per year. Someone’ d better move that plaque up a bit!)
We didn’t see many animals, except mopani worms crossing the road. We just loved driving through the scenic landscape, still amazed by the beauty of it all.
We arrived at Shingwedzi for lunch. The picnic spot at Shingwedzi was packed, but the restaurant wasn’t too busy. We both had Chicken mayo tramezzini for Xmas brunch. We had to roll ourselves to the car after that. Nom.
Meanwhile, it was getting hotter and more humid. Dark clouds were gathering and it looked like we might get a thunderstorm.
We arrived at Sirheni on Christmas day and were allocated to bungalow no 13.
It was quite hot and very humid, but lucky for us a breeze soon started to blow and the temperature dropped to a lovely 20C-something. We had a look around the camp, which is quite amazing. It’s full of trees and very green. It has two bird hides, one was in front of our bungalow. There’s a photo in my Morning coffee post. (Blog)
There was lots of water in the dam. Besides birds, we saw crocs and hippos at Sirheni.