Monday, 25th February
We pack up camp and leave Letaba at 6.30am. It seems almost sacrilege to criticise such a beautiful place but we are not sorry to leave. Letaba just does not have the beautiful roads of the other camps. Satara has any number of them, Shingwedzi has its great river roads whilst Punda has the Mahonie Loop and Luvuvhu. If it had not been for the lovely pan that we found and the Restcamp, there would not be much to say about Letaba. Mopane certainly does not inhibit the growth of grass and I have no doubt that the game and birds are there – hidden behind this screen of foliage.
We set course south for Satara 80Km’s distant. As we reach the Olifants River we come across a troop of baboons performing in a tree next to the road with the rising sun beyond. The photographic effect is most striking and I settle down to enjoy myself.
We cross the Olifants River that has calmed a little and enjoy the vista of wide open, grassy plains – something that we have not seen for three weeks. Then, these plains were very dry and it is heart warming to see how the grass has recovered after the rains that have fallen. Harlequins are twit twitting, widows are fluttering about, Kori Bustards are strutting through the grass whilst herds of zebra and wildebeest are happily grazing. All the way to Satara the grass is green and, in areas, carpet like although patchy. But sadly all the water courses are still bone dry.
We find a well shaded campsite close to the Stanley guest house on the northern part of the campsite and are soon bedded down. I must deal with certainly admin matters so we only leave camp at 5.30pm for a short drive the Nsemane Dam out on the Orpen road. The sky has clouded over and lightning is flashing to the west giving a most appealing scene for me to photograph.
We arrive back in camp in almost darkness. A German couple who we met at Letaba are camped next door to us and they come over for some wine and a most interesting chat. They are driving an enormous 4×4 Mercedes camp truck in which they have traveled all over southern Africa. They are two seasoned travellers who have been to the most remote places on the planet. They vow to keep travelling until they physically can no longer.
Two ratels scuttle past us and some other campers warn us that they have learnt how to open cooler boxes. It is wonderful to be back at Satara and we look forward very much to the next few days.