South Africa Day 09

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Today I have to move to the Pretoriuskop rest camp. It's 110K away. But first, I'll take a game drive to have another look for wild dogs and cheetahs. So the plan is just stay within a few Ks of the camp looking for them for 4 hours.

Once again I set off at 0431. En route to the Gezantfombi dam, I see 2 rhinos. At the dam, I see 5 buffalo, 2 warthog and many crocodiles.

After staying at the dam for a considerable time, I wander arounfd again. This time I'm going to go to the Hippo Pools to see how high the Crocodile River is at this point. It's very full. On the way back, Isee 3 cars looking at something. I learn that it is a leopard, but there isn't room on the road for me to see it as well. We go up and down the road trying to find the leopard, but it seems to be gone.

About 20 minutes later, I'm back near to the side road that goes to the dam. Suddenly a leopard comes from the side road, and crosses the road in front of me. I attempt to take close-up photos of but frighten it into the bushes. I'm trying to locate it, when another car approaches. I tell him he just missed it. We both go to the river bridge. I think it won't come there.

And so I go back to the dam to see what the latest state is. I get some wildebesste, 1 warthog, 2 warthof=g, 6 warthog and 2 saddlebilled stork.

From the dam, Isee a lot of cars congregated on the river bridge. I guess the leopard must have appeared. I use my binoculars to see if I can see it. Mo. I go to the river bridge. Someone tells me that I've just missed a leopard, and the people I spoke to earlier say that the leopard came down to the water and had a drinbk and he's got some wonderful photos. Grhh!

I return to camp to pack for the trip to Pretoriuskop. I'll stop off at Afsaal, the cafeteria/shop/loo I visited earleir in the trip. En route to Afsaal I see 2 giraffe, 3 nyala, 3 giraffe, an elephant, many buffalo and one zebra.

I then catch up with another car. They are at a viewpoint over a dry river. Oner of the occupants waves furiuosly to me to come over. When I get to their vehicle she says rhino. I was expecting more! However, another occupant of the car says did you see the wild dogs?. Theyu tell me there are 5 of them about 200 metres back the one I've come. I ignore the woman's rhino and drive slowly and attentively for 500 metres without seeing any wild dogs. It's dense bushes on both sides. I turn round and having completed the move I see a wild dog coming towards me. I stop and take photos of it. It seems to be looking for the others. But it goes into the bushes, and I drive up and down but don't find the others.

I return to the viewpoint, they have gone and the rhino is still dozing down in the dry river bed. Later I catch up with them. Tell now tell me the dogs were running along the road. I though earlier they said they were lying down. If they were on the move, then no wonder I didn't find them.

Between the wild dog and Afsaal, I also see 3 zebras, an elephant, 3 kudus, some baboons and a tortoise.

I take a break at Afsaal for a few minutes, add some pins to the sightings board, and note that there are no sightings between here and Pretoriuskop.

For thlast 30 minutes, it's been raining. It's not particularly hard but it's non-stop. The road between Afsaal and Pretoriuskop is sandy, and the sand has turned into mud in places and so it's slippery which requires a lot of attention.

In a heavy section of rain, I'm passing a collection of very large rocks stacked on top of each other. I immediately search for a klipspringer. I find one. I'm really pleased, and I manage to get partially soaked getting a photo of it.

The only other thing I see in the next 80 minutes are 3 female kudus.

I'm late leaving (1613). I decide to do a trip to the Shitlhave dame and the Kahpe boulder. This is mainly tarred roads which will be good as the sandy roads will still be slippery. The sightings board indicate that people have seen cheetahs along this road. And this is a road where I have seen Sable and Lichtenstein's Hartebeest. These are antelope that are rarely seen. I seen the latter once and the Sable twice.

It takes just under 30 minutes (9K) to get to the dam. I see nothing on the way. At the dam, I see lots of hippos, a fish eagle and one waterbuck.

After wating there for severla minutes, I leave for the Naphe boulder. Near to the boulder I see 3 zebra, and on the way back to the dam, I see a rhino. At the dam, there are 4 waterbucks. Probably the one I saw earlier and three others. (Earlier, I think I was just leaving when the waterbuck arrived, and so its mates were probably behind it.)

And that's it. Not much game. There are thunderstorms and torrential rain when I get back.

In the evening, I eat at the restaurant. As usual, it's a buffet. I have soup, a ham and salami salad, roat oprk and four vegetables, some cakey pudding and custard, fruit salad, and a coffee. Not bad for 110 rand (about 8.50 pounds).

I also buy a bottle of wine which costs the same price. I drink half of this. At the end of the meal, I ask my waiter for a cork. This must be an unusual request but it does not phaze him. I tip him 20 rand (which I guess is more than he usually gets).

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