Fun Photo Challenge – Z

This week’s Fun Photo Challenge from Cee calls for pictures of anything beginning with Z.  Of course the first thing that comes to mind is Zebra.

2015-11-21 Addo Zebra baby2015-11-022

Part of the challenge includes photographs of  ‘catching zzzs’

059Tough life Helen 2015-03-18 05-35-31 PM 4608x3456

Lazy Lion 

108 Puff Adder 2015-03-25 01-23-52 PM 3456x4608

Sleeping Puff Adder found in our Kgalagadi Camp!

110 Puff Adder under tree 2015-03-25 01-42-27 PM 4608x3456

Went straight back to sleep when he was caught and put under a distant tree!


A very comfy position to sleep in


Kruger Adventure with Grandpa, Gran, Simon and Shan – Day 11

12 January 2018

The weather is once again hot in The Kruger National Park with temperatures reaching the mid thirties.

This morning for our  drive we drove to Crocodile Bridge Camp.  There were lots of the usual animals about and we got four of the Big Five.   Four rhino were quite far away so we didn’t take a photo.  There were a few elephant sightings but as we have many ellie photos we didn’t take of them either.   The same goes for buffalo which we saw from camp and from the bridge.  There is no restaurant at this Gate Camp but you can get coffee from a kiosk and ready made sandwiches, pies, muffins etc from the shop.  In the past we have enjoyed their pies but today there were none available so we settled for sandwiches which were also very good.

These are the highlights from this morning’s drive.


A Bateleur finally posed for a half decent photograph


The veld was littered with Impala – The kids now call them litter!


A wildebeest resting in the shade


Donkeys in striped pajamas everywhere


A flotilla of white-faced ducks with a female knob-billed duck in the foreground


An emerald-spotted wood-dove


Wild Dog about to settle down in the shade for a midday nap


But we disturbed their peace


Such gorgeous creatures


Yes – It’s hot!

When we got back to camp our neighbours told us about lions just three km from the bridge so we went in search of them.


They were asleep under a tree quite far from the road but The King got up and stared at us


Then flopped down again


At the bridge we got this lovely Goliath Heron

We chilled in camp for most of the afternoon and then went out again for a short drive from 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock.  The Amur falcons and  rollers were flocking together and hawking insects which was really interesting to watch.


Rollers hawking insects

Here are the other highlights of our afternoon drive


Southern White-crowned Shrike


Burchell’s Coucal


Snake-eagle with a reptile of some sort – see the tail

When we got back the kids went for a swim with the neighbour’s kids and later Simon went on another night hike and saw hyaena from the restaurant deck.

It was a beautiful evening and we had a braai.    It was after nine before we were ready for bed.


Kokstad Christmas – Part 1

Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that we are currently visiting our clan in Kokstad.  We started our Christmas celebrations early.  On Wednesday The Bakers came over for a pre-Christmas dinner. We wore the silly hats and pulled the surprise pack crackers and shared the corny jokes that popped out too.  It really got us all into the Christmas spirit


Nicoline, Shan and Scott


Simon and Robyn


Al, Si, Shan, Scott, Me, Earl, Lauren


Al, Nicoline, Shan, Scott, Si, Robyn, Sean, Me, Lauren

We have had unseasonably cold weather this December so when we saw that the sun would be shining on Thursday we headed off to a dam in the mountains so the ‘boys’ could do some fishing.  What a lovey cottage we had on The Du Plessis farm in the Swartberg.

It was Allan’s birthday on Friday.   He and Simon were out fishing very early on on their return we presented the gifts and had a slap-up breakfast to celebrate his special day.


My Rural Family


Scrumptious Birthday Breakfast

Al is such a great dad and his kids expressed this so well in the cards they made.


Al, Earl and Simon fished and caught a total of nine bass. They kept two which The Earl cooked for lunch when we were back home.

Because of the iffy weather we have not done much outdoorsy stuff but on Sunday at the rude hour of 6:30 am my son-in-law and granddaughter knocked on the door – Hey Gran – do you want to come for a walk.

I thought it would be a gentle stroll along gravel paths suitable for a 65 year old grandmother.


Like this

But no –  they took me on a bundu bashing ramble across farmlands, over barbed wire fences, through long, possibly snake-infested grass while dodging thorny thistles, low overhanging branches and rabbit holes.


Do you see the reed buck and the dog? – No?  That’s how long the grass was!

Cody smelt a reed buck – but it was too clever for him and kept dead still – all we could see were it’s horns sticking up from the long grass.


We bent over to get through the trees


And climbed through many tricky fences

The plan was to cross the river over a bridge and then take the shortcut back to their farm but somehow the it seemed not to be there and so we headed back through the long grass observing many pretty buck and birds before reaching home two hours after we started out!



It was all worth the effort for the pretty scenes we saw


Lovely river – no bridge

Considering that Shan and Al both have much longer legs than I, I think I did okay to keep up with them – Yes my limbs felt like jelly at the end of it but it was great fun.  I think I might join them again.

Today we celebrated Christmas with The Bakers and tomorrow we’re having the Macs over – More about that next time.


Kruger National Park – Day 24

3 December 2017

We bade farewell to Pat and Tony this morning and they made their way through the park for a few hours before leaving for Witbank where they are spending the night.

The Earl and I decided to have a rest day and do a few things in camp.   Isn’t it great that each rest camp has a laundry with coin operated washing machines and dryers?   Just two five rand coins;  and half an hour later my bed linen was washed and ready for the dryer.  In went the next two coins. I pressed the start button – nothing!  Oh no!  Had it been clothes I could have made a plan to hang it out but Kingsize bed linen – Noooooo.  So I rang the duty manager and within minutes two charming young technicians arrived to sort out my problem.   “It took my money but it won’t work,”  I said sadly.

‘We’re here to help,” they said scratching their heads.  Then one unlocked the machine with a key, did something miraculous and hey presto the dryer started!  “What did you do?” I asked.  “‘Magic,” he replied.

I then put a load of clothing on while the linen dried and when that was done the clothes were ready for the dryer.  By 9:30 I’d done the laundry, cleaned the caravan, watched some birds and had a swim.


Green-winged pytilia – otherwise known as a melba finch

The Earl and I then went to the restaurant for breakfast.  By this time the temperature was rising but it was cool relaxing on the deck under the trees.  The birding was good too,


The white-fronted bee-eaters were very active


The marsh sandpiper was as busy as ever

After sorting out banking and email on his laptop The Earl had a nap and then we did a two hour drive next to the river to Nkulu Picnic Site and back.  The trip there was very quiet with little to see except impala.   On the way back though, the animals seemed to have woken from their naps,


I rather like this scene of elephant, fish eagle and water buck sharing the facilities


He’s not called a water buffalo for nothing


This is the way to travel


Why are these people staring, Mum?


I really need a manacure – no time with all this childcare


Two beautiful male Nyala greeted us


This elephant was right next to my window


Aren’t I a handsome chap!

It was too hot to cook tonight so we went to the Cattle Baron Take-Away and got chicken wraps and I made a Greek salad.  A perfect ending to a very hot day!



Kruger National Park – Day 23

2 December 2017 –

We haven’t seen cats for a few days and were feeling a little restless about it as it’s Tony and Pat’s last full day in The Park.   It would be nice to get one last sighting of a predator for them.

I suggested we drive to Tshokwane for breakfast because lions and leopard had been seen in that area.   Everybody agreed.

Before we left camp we found this chap foraging on the neighboring campsite.


White-throated Robin-Chat

We drove the scenic route along the river and took all the loops we could.


Frisky male impala were butting heads and interlocking horns – it seemed more play than serious rivalry


A hippo still out grazing before going back into the water for the day


The Earl aways gets a fright when these giants suddenly appear and cross in front of him


These gentle waterbuck said a cheery good morning

There was a lull in sightings when all of a sudden we jerked to attention.  Something was crossing the road ahead of us.  Leopard, cheetah – No LION!   We all got an eyeful of her and then she was gone.  Maybe some more would follow and cross over too.  We waited a few minutes but nobody came.  Just a little ahead we saw a stationary car.  As we approached I saw them – lion lying under a tree.  A farewell gift for our friends,


The other car left and we had them to ourselves for a while. Suddenly another lion appeared and then two of them got up together to change position and flop down again


What an awesome sighting.  But wait – there’s more.  We drove on a little further and spotted two more lionesses lying on a log. There was a lot of foliage blocking them so we didn’t get photos but enjoyed seeing them get up and stretch before settling back down again.

We were thrilled at this sighting which was just before we got to our breakfast stop.  At Tshokwane we were amused when this pied barbet settled on a plate and himself to scraps!  I’ve never seen a barbet do that before.

IMG_8272On our return we concentrated on bird watching and enjoyed seeing a common duiker, giraffe and zebra.   As we approached the lion spot a car stopped us and said there were male lions up ahead.   Our females had left but these boys had settled in close by to where they had been. The one remained asleep but the other gave us a bit of entertainment.


Why did you wake me up?


Oh how tiresome – yawn, yawn!


Don’t you know a lion needs 20 hours of sleep per day?


Oh well – while I’m up i might as well have a scratch

When we came to the place where we expected to find a leopard on the rocks, we got a klipspringer instead!


We decided to take a long midday break as it was really hot again today.  We swam in the pool a few times and only went to Lake Panic later in the afternoon for an hour.  I would be quite happy to spend an entire day in this hide as even on a slow day interesting things happen.  You have to sit very quietly in a hide and at first you might think there is nothing there but when you really look you start to see things. It took a while for us to notice that a Jacana at the far end of the pond had four chicks that must have been just out of their eggs.  Father Jacana looks after the kids while Mom goes off to find another mate and another nest in which to lay her eggs.


Father Jacana wtching his young


Squacco Heron fishing


Pied Kingfisher with is prey


We heard the Water Thick-knees before we them

Once again it was a perfect evening and just as we were enjoying Magnum Ice-creams for dessert I heard a rustle at the paper packet that we use for a bin. I yelled and it ran away. I suspected it was a honey badger but I caught sight of something smaller.  African wild cat perhaps?  The cheeky creature came back again and Pat said – shine your torch on it which I did and saw it was a bushbaby!.  At that moment Pat and Tony’s daughter was Skyping from New Zealand.  Chaos ensued as we raced to see if we could find the intruder.  We found him behind the caravan on the branch of a tree.  He wasn’t at all concerned and just stared at us from his safe vantage point.  Tony was able to show his daughter, Maria, the naughty creature.


Sorry Bushbaby – We’re not the type of campers who hand out leftovers! Go find your own food!

Sadly tonight is the last one in the park for P&T as tomorrow they will make their way back home.  We still have a few more days before heading back to Kokstad.


Kruger National Park – Day 21

30 November 2017 Lower Sabie to Skukuza

It’s hard to believe that we have been in the park for three weeks now.  Each day has had something special and we are still loving every moment.   We now have the pack up and go routine totally sussed and everything went smoothly for our departure to Skukza this morning.  Pat’s hand is very much better and she felt that she could cope helping Tony with their tent but The Earl insisted on giving a hand – we don’t want her using her wrist too much and causing it more damage!

We hit the tar road at 6:45 and Pat and Tony took the scenic route.   Our first road block – elephants of course.  This photograph is taken through the windscreen but I couldn’t resist the cuteness of the baby rolling on the tar.


Skukuza is only 35 km from Lower Sabie on the tar road and we did not stop for much as we just wanted to get to camp to set up.  We were just done when Tony phoned to say they had arrived. We met them at reception and took them to our site.  They decided not to join us for brekkie as it looked like rain and they wanted to set up before it came.

The Earl and I went to The Cattle Baron and sat under the Sycamore Fig enjoying the ambience. The service today was slow but when you’re in Africa you don’t really care.  When we finally got our eggs and bacon it was delicious – and the coffee was good.   While we were waiting we watched the starlings, weavers and sparrows in the tree and then The Earl said, “Hey there’s a green pigeon.”  Our first for this trip!  Where had they been hinding?


This elusibe Green Pigeon and three others posed beautifully for us


The spectacled weaver has a quizical look

Today was more of a rest day as it turned out to be quite hot – the rain never came.  We took a short afternoon drive and these were the highlights.


Golden Breasted Bunting – he sang beautifully


Trumpeter Hornbill


Dung Beetle cleaning up the bush – such an amazingly hard worker


Dark form Wahberg’s Eagle – I think


A useful tool is the elephant’s trunk


Can’t resist the cuteness


What was he thinking getting right into the tree


Yellow-billed hornbill

This might sound repetitive – but it was a braai again tonight.  Honestly there’s no better way to eat in the bush!


Kruger National Park – Day 20

29 November 2017 – A Day for Leopards

The weather was warm again today with the temperature reaching the mid thirties.

As I have mentioned in previous episodes – no two days are alike in Kruger.   Today was a good one for seeing the “Big” guys.

The bridge gave us our first thrill of the day.


Hippos had an early morning meeting


Saddle-bill Stork and Yellow-bill egret sharing a fishing spot


Is the yellow-billed egret leading the spoonbills astray as the saddle-billed looks on?


These two Fish Eagles had a confrontation over a fish

The black-shouldered kite is usually rare in KNP but due to the drought in the West of the country many have moved East and there is now an influx of them in The Park.   On one day we saw 18 of them.


Yet another Black-shouldered Kite

As we continued along the tar road we saw a single stationary car stopped on the right hand side of the road.  It was open country with few trees and we couldn’t see anything at all.  But we never pass a stationary  car so we stopped alongside and asked – “What do you see?”  “A leopard,”  replied the rather good looking young man behind the wheel. He lovely wife was beside him with a huge smile on her face.   “Where?” we asked  and how come we hadn’t seen it?   “Reverse a little and look in the biggest tree you can see over there.” he pointed.

We looked at the tree – it was far away and we saw nothing until we trained our binoculars on it. “I have him!”  I said – “But how on earth did they spot that!”


The distant leopard in the far away tree

It turned out that they’d stopped just to scan the area with binoculars and the lovely wife and spotted him quite by chance!   What a lucky break.  Before long there were four or five cars wondering what the fuss was about.  We were able to point out this special for them before we moved on.

Next we stopped at a look-out where you are allowed to get out of your car and sit in a boma to view the vast valley below.   At first we saw nothing but veld and trees and then The Earl said – Omigosh – look at all the elephants!


They just kept coming – a huge herd of them

Just before we got to Tshokwane we saw a few cars staring into the bush.  Another leopard!  He was lying asleep under a bush, well hidden and a photograph was impossible.   But when he sat up The Earl managed to get one before he walked off into the thicket.


Not our best leopard picture ever!

Tshokwane is the best picnic site in the park.  The kitchen and the seating area incorporate big trees, the coffee is excellent and the food inexpensive and good.


The Shady Eating Area


The Cooking Area

With out hunger satisfied we set off again and found yet another leopard.  This one was also in a tree and we could see him nicely.   But we did not manage to get a photograph.


we also saw lots of elephants today.   At Orpen Dam Lookout we watched them come down and have fun in the mud.


Orpen Dam Lookout


The View


Elephants having a confrontation


Mud glorious Mud – Mum, I think I may be stuck!


Don’t worry – you’ll get out


White-faced ducks and glossy ibis were also enjoying the dam

We spent a long time out this morning and enjoyed many fascinating sightings.


Yellow-throated Longclaw


Red-crested korhaan


Male Kudu


Playful Zebra


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Giraffe and Elephants



Follow the leader


Scary Crocodile


Black Heron


Mischieveous Monkeys

We have seen rhino a few times this trip but I am not mentioning on what day nor on which roads in case some poaching criminal comes across this blog and it helps him find his target.   Rhino are being poached at an alarming rate although Sanparks are going to great lengths to put anti-poaching measures in place.  We are delighted to have seen many men in camouflage patrolling and checking and we have heard that recent arrests have been made.


A Happy Rhinoceros – Long may he remain safe from poachers

It was another perfect evening in The Park although the weather had clouded over.  We enjoyed The Earl’s chicken wing starter and a braai of chops, steak and boerewors with sweet potatoes and a lovely Greek Salad before retiring for the night.  Yes another great day in Africa.