Good grief! I have just realised that I returned from the Kruger Park trip nearly 3 weeks ago, and here I am STILL not finished blogging about it! – Such a slacker 😉

So, we have finally made it up to Mopani Rest Camp in the northern half of the park.  This was our last port of call, and we had a fabulous 4 nights based here.

A whole 4 nights in a self-contained chalet.. Awesome

The Easter Holiday-makers had, for the most part, disappeared homewards leaving a few of us with the run of the camp.

Quite the colourful little lizard

Sunsets over the Pioneer Reservoir were simply serene.

Reflecting over reflections on the Pioneer Reservoir

Sunset did bring out a few other equally serene, but somewhat less “pretty” characters.

Won't be dipping any toes in this dam then...

In the Mopani Camp region the vegetation is very different from what we have seen before.  Miles upon miles of Mopane Trees have replaced the open savannah and acacia trees that are more commonly found in the south.  This makes spotting animals that much harder, as the trees are more densely packed together.

Legavaan

You’d be forgiven for thinking that there were fewer animals in the northern parts, but they are there alright…just behind that tree…

Grysbok

We managed a couple of dawn-raids on the park, but our luck had still not improved with regards to seeing leopards or cheetahs.  They remain elusive, yet again.  We did, however, see more black-backed jackals and even a Rooicat (Caracal) bounding past us and disappearing into the forest.

“Fuzzy” Jackals in the open veld

Zebras, Rooibok, giraffe and waterbok were all seen on a daily basis around the camp

In homage to Gary Larson's The Far Side: "Helluva birthmark, Hal..."

Buffalo and elephant were, again, plentiful.

Buffalo with Cattle Egrets ("I'm so cool, I can chew with my eyes closed")

One young male elephant, still part of the herd, “tooted” at us as we crawled past in our vehicle.  He was quite far off the road, but you could see he was a bit on the feisty side.  Other elephants in the herd were their usual peaceful, nonchalant selves.  This male youngster was probably the equivalent of a hormonal teenager 😉  A day later, we got more than just a toot.. and I suspect it was from the very same male elephant.

This second toot came when we had stopped on a concrete causeway, crossing a small dam.  I wanted to snap some photographs of some really cute little birds that were darting in and out of the reeds.  Just as I was lining up to take a shot of these Black Crakes, I caught some movement behind me, reflected in the wing mirror… Young Master Elephant was coming out of the bushes along the bank, down-stream of where we were parked… and he was coming straight for us!  We had time to turn and look at him and see if we were in any real danger, then decided to move very slowly away from him. He kept coming at us, and “tooted” us just for fun.  We continued moving slowly away, he kept following us at a bit of a canter… We eventually “lost” him 100m later, once we had rounded a corner out of his direct line of sight.  It wasn’t a scary experience, just one that reminds you of who’s boss around here… and don’t you forget it.. 😉

I never did get my little Black Crake photograph.  I did manage to catch “Hippos in the morning mist”, from the same spot a couple of days earlier.

Hippos in the morning mist

We were treated, however, to the sights and sounds of many other different birds.  Many of which I haven’t seen for a long time.  Here are a few that we managed to spot:

Secretary Bird

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Kori Bustard

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Saddlebilled Stork

Some little cuties decided to visit us whilst we were sitting relaxing at our chalet.

Brownheaded Parrot

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..and then there were two!

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Redbilled Hornbill, who tried to snatch my morning Ouma Rusk from my hand..

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Another Serene African Sunset

This brings up the last post in the 4-part Kruger Park series.  Previous posts include:

Kruger Park Part 1 – In and Around Berg en Dal

Kruger Park Part 2 – Hunting for Big Cats: It’s Like Fishing

Kruger Park Part 3 – From Skukuza to Oliphants

I can’t wait to go back already!

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