Lined with sundowning elephants

17th May 2014

Tuesday 6th to Tuesday 13th May 2014

Leave part three of three

I drove back over two days, it didn’t get off the the best of starts. There was no mobile signal at Satara which meant I couldn’t pay for the petrol I’d just put into the car. I eventually managed to change a £50 note at the gift shop so I was on my way again.

I was hoping to get all the way up to Punda Maria in the day but with the petrol fiasco and of course stopping for sightings I made it as far as Shingwedzi. The sightings were good, especially driving along the Shingwedzi river which was lined with sundowning elephants.

I figured that the camp was going to be busy as I leap frogged from sighting to sighting with other vehicles on the final approach to the rest camp. When I arrived I was told that there was no room to camp but for me they made an exception. I was of course very grateful but when I pitched my tent I found I had acres of space.

As I was in the process of setting up I was invited by the neighbouring couple to join them for dinner, Patrick and Crystella were great company and I was grateful for something other than Jungle Oats for supper. Afterwards I went and sat in “The Champ” to do some reading. Here I got a great surprise, Mum and Dad had rang me to say hi, I didn’t even know my phone was on. It was lovely to hear from them especially as it was their wedding anniversary, I guess it should have been me calling them.

There were a lot of noises through the night, the impala were going nuts which was likely to be a leopard on the prowl and a cape turtle dove was bashing out its repetitive song. The latter I imagine was down to the bird being confused that it was daytime as it was near enough a full moon. This is not a good time for Kruger, the rangers will be on full alert over the next couple of days as rhino poaching always spikes at this time, its easier for the poachers to track the rhino with the aid of the moon light.

After my last night of camping I was on the road again, the final leg of my journey with just a short stop at Punda Maria to fill up the car and have one last taste of the internet. The tar road was lined with spear grass which was bending under its own weight due to their heavy heads entwining themselves.

After bumping into Cara down at Punda Maria I was now running late, not that anyone would notice as we tend not to wear watches, simply running our lives on African time. Still I didn’t want to be ridiculously late which meant I couldn’t stop at the view point over looking the Pafuri area. This is marked by a fat fingered baobab that had lost its leaves, so much so it looked as if it was scratching the African sky with unkempt finger nails.