Most people had left already by the time I ventured out. I decided to head south, to travel along the dryer and higher midlands.
It didn’t take long to spot a pack of hyenas. They sure had a big meal overnight, their bellies were full. There is a distinct hierarchy within the pack and the lower ranked knew their place.
I noticed a hole next to the road which could indicate a den. Let’s wait and see what happens, I thought.
When all other cars drove on, mum called out her pup. Just for me?
Little cutie was excited but didn’t venture too far from mum. Mum was paying good attention to what was going on around her.
There seemed to be only one pup left, others hadn’t made it. One more reason to watch out for danger.
Hyenas are not on the ‘pretty to watch list’, but I had to disagree. Seeing these hunters and scavengers up close and personal is a memorable moment.
The gravel road I turned on to didn’t show muchwildlifee, but serenity. A lone female Kudu crossed the road gracefully and stopped to look at an oversized zebra. Priceless.
I noticed some fresh small cat tracks on the road, most likely a serval or caracal. A fair size dam held hippos and crocs, one was floating a few hundred meters away. At first, I thought it was some sort off floating vegetation, but it went down, to come again.
A fish eagle made use of the flooded trees, nesting in the safe surrounding. A perfect spot for a coffee break. No one anywhere near. It is noticeable dryer up here, most riverbeds were dry as.
A tiny turtle appeared out of nowhere, maybe it just hatched?
Some giraffes enjoyed some greens a few km’s onwards, quite close to the road.
For a huge mammal, they walk quite gracefully.
A fantastic opportunity for some close up photos.
It wasn’t long before my next roadblock, close to the Crocodile River.
One of the bulls seemed to be in thrust, throwing bushes to a mother and her calf. Can’t shag her he thought.
Another was quite interested in another elephant’s shite. Maybe he was reading the news?
No matter how often you see these gentle giants up close and personal, it always is an exciting spectacle. Particular when smaller calves venture out playing, always under a watchful eye from mom though.
I drove on to see a few cars parked next to the road. The more cars, the higher the animal on the watch list.
A pack of wild dogs rested behind bushes in the shade. Only a bit of movement gave them away. The sun was out in full force meanwhile and both of us were steaming. We stuck it out for a while, hoping they would move to a different spot. Besides, we couldn’t go anywhere as the road was jammed meanwhile.
That cleared quickly when even bigger road users arrived.
A small family of elephants made a big impact, almost causing havoc by drivers blocking the road. This was quite amusing to watch.
The elephants were passing just meters from Zimba, not a worry in the world.
I got a photo of one of the wild dogs moving to another shady spot, but I needed some shade too. I chilled for a while at Berg-en-dal camp, when a fellow visitor pointed out, that the Rangers are looking for info about the Ground Hornbill I saw yesterday. I will mention that when I check in later. On my way up north to ‘Pretoriuskop Rest camp’, I pulled in to check out a small dam. Perfect time for wildlife around waterholes on a very hot day. I noticed three rhinos in the thick bush, heading towards the dam. I stopped at the tiny water hole, no one around.
I jumped out of my car for a wee, when I saw those three rhinos heading towards the drinking spot. Naming the area on social media is still a no-no due to poaching, sadly enough. Meanwhile, the male rhino appeared first, standing not far from me, just on the other side of the smallish waterhole.
Mother and calf were not too far behind. I was still out of my car, they weren’t far. My heart started beating somewhat faster. There was no erratic behavior, but they saw me and seemed anxious. I really believe that Zimba’s stripes affect the animals in a calming matter, as I have noticed that on a few occasions.
The pond offered nice reflections, something I wouldn’t see often. They were desperate for a drink and mud bath, so I let them be. Looking at the photos later, I realized the following; The male actually was a very rare black rhino, with a rounder and pointier face.
Mum clearly is a white rhino with a square mouth. Youngster appears to be a mix in between. But that is just my guess.
They seemed harmonious together, hopefully, it will stay that way. Poaching, in particular in National Parks, is still a huge problem. It’s not looking good for their future.
The sunlight was fading fast and I still had a fair way to go to ‘Pretoriuskop’ Rest camp.
A giraffe was standing motionless under an Acacia tree, while the sun was setting behind. What a view. I could have stayed longer and watched the sun disappear in a giraffe’s shadow, but had no time left. I made it just in time to get Pretoriuskop before the gates closed. I checked in and mentioned that I have seen a few Ground Hornbills. Was it the one with the ring? The female attendant asked. I didn’t expect a reply like that at all. I regathered my wit and said. ‘He had the same size as a hobbit, and he sure was looking for something. Let me know when he finds the precious.”
This time, she looked like a stunned mullet. Ha ha… the preeeccioussss….