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Bush

How we got around while on the wilderness trip.
How we got around while on the wilderness trip.

We’re one week in to our Kruger trip and had booked a 3 day wilderness trail out of Letaba camp. Here is a map of the park. There were 8 of us and we were driven to a remote rustic camp near the Olifants River. The idea is not so much as to see game but rather to experience walking through the veld in the park. When in a car the animals will let you get quite close but on foot you are really viewed as a threat and they are long gone by the time you within sight of them.

We were accompanied by two rangers who would walk in front as we then followed in a tight single file behind, stopping every now and then to view things of interest including dung/scat/droppings/poop to see who had been around earlier in the day. Mostly Impala, Zebra, Giraffe and other small game.

It was fun but rather hot, reaching the upper 90’s in the afternoon, and difficult to sleep when it is still 80 degrees at midnight.

On the move. Single file and stay together.
On the move. Single file and stay together.
Discussion stop.
Discussion stop.
Sunset stop alongside the Olifants River.
Sunset stop alongside the Olifants River.
Went to see a Baobab tree.
Went to see a Baobab tree.
My shoes & socks after a day in the veld.
My shoes & socks after a day in the veld. Full of sticky burrs that take for ages to pry free.

Back on our own again we spent 3 nights in the Letab camp itself and did our own thing driving all the nearby roads. Had a nice braai (BBQ) at our rondavel which was on the camp perimeter and we could look out over the Letaba river while sipping wine and cooking boerewors (sausage). The rondavels are self-catering but have basic kitchen facilities outside on the patio, a bit of a problem because there are vervet monkeys roaming around and no food can be left unattended, even meat on the grill is fair game for them.

Having a braai at the Letaba camp.
Having a braai at the Letaba camp.
Our outdoor kitchen.
Our outdoor kitchen.
Column of Matabele ants crossing the road.
Column of Matabele ants crossing the road.

I’m driving down this dirt road at a slow 25 KPH when I see what looks like a translucent snake crossing the road. Not so but a column of Matebele ants on the move. The column was about 6 feet long and they were very regimented compared to the random nature of common ants.

Matebele ants.
Matebele ants.
Now that's an anthill.
Now that’s an anthill. (Not related to the Matabele ants)
Elephant skull alongside the road.
Elephant skull alongside the road.
Portuguese cross.
Portuguese cross.

Thought to be from an early Portuguese explorer around 1861 and carved into the thick bark of this Leadwood tree.

Buffalo too close for comfort.
Buffalo too close for comfort. A car had pulled over and I slowly passed it only to find myself staring down an unpredictable Buffalo. A hurried photo and a quick exit
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Double banded Sandgrouse.
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Marabou  Stork.
The white car on the left is stuck!
The white car on the left is stuck!

Tired of looking for game we noticed this white car stationery in an awkward position. A passing motorist told us he was stuck, had driven along a small track and ran into a ditch of sorts and could not get out even though he was 4 wheel drive. Later we saw two park vehicles pulling him out and saw that it was a rental vehicle on top of that.

Baboon.
Who is looking at who?
Mother and child.
Mother and child.
Life in the African veld.
Life in the African veld can be exhausting.
Male Water buck.
Male Water buck.
Eagle.
Wahlberg Eagle. Easy to confuse with the Brown Snake Eagle but the yellow beak and feet make it a Wahlberg.
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There are a number of spots where you can cautiously get out to stretch your legs and take in the view. This is overlooking the Letaba river.
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Can’t miss the Southern Ground Hornbill.
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Elephants.
Elephants sparring for dominance.

These guys were having their regular mud-bath and we hung around to watch when what looks like two younger males start pushing each other with their heads. Common for them to test each other for who is the dominant one. At water holes we have heard a male trumpet loudly when his space is invaded by others and you can visibly see the others back off and stop drinking as if they had been scolded for what they were doing.

Elephants.
Elephants.
Elephants.
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Sunrise at Satara camp.
Sunrise at Satara camp.
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