Friday, 21st July It is raining lightly and windy as we lock up and prepare the caravan for Werner and Noleen who will arrive later today. Shingwedzi in the far north of the Park and is 275Km distant so we must leave early without seeing our friends.
With windscreen wipers working continuously, we travel northward along the H10 towards Tshokwane. Here we stop for a mandatory pie before pressing on. 4Km’s further and we come across cars watching a pretty battered old Leopard at the side of the road.
Although central Kruger received good rains during summer, no flood damage is evident. The veld looks wonderful. At a steady 50kph, we press on pausing only to inspect yet another spotted lump under a Mopane thicket. We finally arrive at Shingwedzi at 1pm.
Note the burglar guards on the gate guard’s room. Sometime ago, an old leopard entered through the window one night and dispatched the guard.
We quickly settle into our chalet which feels a little strange after so many years in the caravan. Our attention is immediately drawn to a Cardinal Woodpecker that is working hard preparing a nest hole in a Mopane tree outside our door.
The camp is ablaze with Impala Lilies and Aloes – with their attendant birds.
This evening we travel down the Kanniedood Dam road (S50). Shingwedzi is a lot drier than down south and the ground in many places is bare. We have been told that the rivers here never flooded this summer and only pools of water now remain. Curiously, the elephants are loathe to drink from these prefering to dig holes in the sand and drink filtered water instead.
The riverbeds here are pock marked by these water holes.
Saturday, 22nd Today we are going to do one of my favourite roads the Mphongolo S56 river road. At 6am we travel quickly up the main H1-7 road to the Babalala where we turn left and begin this incredibly beautiful S56 gravel road that follows the river for 30km. With its great trees, it is scenically splendid in the early morning light. We come across a lion with a lacerated back and not looking too well.
At one point I hear an eagle-like screech coming from some trees and after a search I find a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl (Giant) on a branch feeding off its prey – a Spotted Genet. Unfortunately the light was difficult so the photo is rather poor.
This proved to be the highlight of the morning and we return to camp well satisfied. This afternoon we meander along the little loop roads that surround the camp without seeing anything special.
Sunday, 23rd This morning we take the S52 RedRocks north bank river road. At one point we meet a mother ellie and calf which blocks the road for some time. Eventually we manage to squeeze past.
Although well known for its lions and leopards, we have no luck in the Red Rocks area.
Apologies, this post was sent off accidentally before it was completed. I will follow up with another Shingwedzi Post.