2018 South Africa and Botswana Trip travel blog

Bloody-red Sunrise

Orange Moonrise

Giraffe drinking water

Saddle-billed Stork

Brown-headed Kingfisher

I had a marvelous day! Met my group for early morning drive at 4:45am. We did not see big cats but a hyena with a pray in her mouth, two African Wildcats, big herds of elephants, a dozen or so giraffes, and a big group of baboons. The sunrise was beautiful. The sun somehow looked redder when it just rises above the horizon than Seattleā€™s. The night sky has at least 10 times more of stars and clear. It was so enjoyable to watch the night sky. The moon rise was orange than yellow.

After we finished the drive at about 9:30am, I went back to my room to get some water and bathroom break. Then I started to drive to some watering holes. The first stop had many cars because there was sighting of lions. I saw one lioness who was walking into the bushes after her drink. The second stop was dried out and nothing was there. The 3rd stop was great. It had a couple of large pools. I immediately saw 3 Yellow-billed Storks, 2 Gray Herons, 2 Three-banded Plovers, 2 Blacksmith Lapwings, and a few very large crocodiles sunning themselves. A couple of people were in the bird hide and we did not talk, just enjoyed the birds together. A Fish Eagle flew in and landed on a tall tree, a Hammerkop took off. A few impalas were grazing nearby, A Brown-headed Kingfisher was on a branch to try to catch a fish, and a shy Namaqua Dove flew in for a drink. It as peaceful and tranquil. After an hour or so I left to look for lunch, however, the closest restaurant is about 40 minutes away. I decided to just have whatever I had. I found a small bag of almonds and another small bag of macadamia nuts. I had enough drinking water. So, I stopped at a picnic place to have my snacks. A group of 4 young Spaniards came in. They were prepared. They used the BBQ facility to heat up a nice picnic. I was so hungry by watching them. I was surprised to understand some of what they were talking about. I talked to them a little in Spanish. They were from Madrid and were on vacation in the park. The picnic place has a ranger and we could get out of the car. Nowhere was permitted to be outside the car in the park. At this place a pair of Cliff Stone-chats were hunting. It was high on a hill and has good views of two waterholes and the surrounding hills. At early morning and later afternoon, it must be full of animals and birds. However, the camp gate closes at 6:00pm, I must leave.

I stopped at one waterhole where I visited earlier again. From nowhere a Saddle-billed Stork appeared and 4 Water Thick-knee materialized. They blend in with the surroundings so well that I did not see them when they stay still. A tall giraffe came for a drink. It was interesting to see how it does it. It bent its front legs and lowered its head to reach water. Had to leave about 4:15pm. Got back to the camp before 5:00pm and on the way filled the gas tank. Took a shower and went for dinner at 6:00pm.

Tomorrow I will check out at 8:00am and head to Hoedspruit Airport. It will take 3 hours non-stop to get there. I hope I could have sightings of cheetah and leopard.

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