18 November 2017 – Shingwedzi
This morning while we waited for Pat and Tony to finish packing up their tent, and before we said farewell to Punda Maria, Earl and I paid one last visit to the hide. This is the only camp in The Park that has a hide and a lit waterhole and it is frequently visited by many animals. Elephants were already there and we watched them finish their ablutions and take on some refreshing liquid before they lumbered off into the bush. It was quiet for a few minutes and then we heard loud and excited trumpeting and another herd came racing down to the water. It was as if the little ones were calling – Mommy, I can’t wait to get into the water, please can we run ahead.
It was awesome and we would have lingered longer but it was time to head to Shingwedzi. Earl quickly helped with the tent packing up and then we set off separately. The only disadvantage of towing a caravan is that you can’t stop suddenly, nor do all the reversing and manoeuvring at a sighting as you would like to. Also there is always the fear that you’ll be confronted by an oncoming elephant! So we took the direct tar road and only stopped when we could. We did manage to have some lovely sightings but once we got to Shingwedzi, we set up quickly, had a bit of a rest and then went to the restaurant for lunch. Pat and Tony met us there. They had taken the river road and had lingered over bird and animal sightings.
All the usual patron of the Kruger Restaurant were about – elephant, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest and zebra so when we saw something a little out of the ordinary it peaked our interest. This shy creature was kind enough to stop to have his portrait taken.
We checked in at Shingwedzi at around 10:30 and quickly found a lovely site next to the fence and close to the ablution block. We had some feathered hosts welcome us. The red-billed woodhoopoes were quite vocal but seemed in a hurry to be somewhere else and didn’t stop to chat. Mrs Burchell, hower, asked if had any crumbs for her. No – sorry we don’t eat bread.
The arrow-marked babblers are always busy but blurted out their greetings as they flew from tree to tree.
After lunch P&T went to set up camp at Shingwedzi while The Earl and I did the river route which was very productive. The Mopani Diner was open and the patrons were helping themselves to their offerings.
It was very hot and most of the birds were napping in the cool of the foliage. It was later in the afternoon when we started to spot a few as they emerged from hiding. This lovely raptor was hoping there would be a slithering reptile on the menu.
Sometimes you have to take the kids out to eat too. Mom is trying to teach this youngster that he must eat by himself now.
The next feathered diner we met is a new one for us.
At the same cafe, skulking in the foliage we found an old friend.
Some of the residents prefer to eat ‘seafood’ In this case, actually, it’s river-food. There were Egyptian Geese, Grey Herons, three-banded plovers and other waterbirds checking out the menu but our favourite was this lovely chap.
I have hundreds of giraffe photographs as I just love these stunning creatures. I couldn’t resist taking more today.
We are only at Shingwedzi for one night. We weren’t very hungry after our lunch at the restaurant so it was well after sunset when we braaied. A honey-badger entered the campsite and tried to steal from the humans and a hyena passed by on the other side of the fence. Hopefully he never finds his way inside.
Tomorrow we head to Letaba for four nights.