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Old 21st February 2019
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DIY Kruger safari pix 3

DAY 5

We had a lesson on right of way as we left Letaba for our early morning drive, heading for a full English at Mopani camp. This was one of a pair and we followed about one hundred yards behind until they turned off into the bush. By the time we’d covered that hundred yards they were completely concealed.



The Olifants and Letaba rivers are spanned by long bridges. You’re allowed to stop and get out in the middle. Looking down from the Letaba bridge we saw these African Open Bills. They’re so called because when the bill is closed there is a gap in the middle which you can just see in the pic.



Next up was a Black Bellied Korhaan. It looks a bit like the Korhaan in the previous post but is distinguished by the male’s black strip running down from the chin.



We thought that was a good selection of pre breakfast sightings but better was to come afterwards. A few kilometres south of Mopani there is a shallow ford over the Tsendze river. It’s near to the Shipandani hide which is one of two in the park where you can spend the night – there are bunks and a loo.

First up was this Pied Kingfisher. They’re quite common and love being photographed.



He was far from being the only predator at the ford. There were three Hamerkop (one of them was in the fish illustration in the admin post). They get their name form the shape of the head and feathers.



and two Yellow-billed Storks



and a Black Stork. You can just see the edge of the ford in the bottom left of the photo which shows how close we were able to get to all these characters.



The chances of any fish surviving passage of the ford were minimal. In addition to the storks and egret that are visible there are three Hamerkop out of sight to the right of the furthest stork. A Green Heron is also out of sight. Oh, and I nearly forgot the small crocodile on the upstream side.



Apart from that the scene looks serene but there’s an even more fearsome predator just about to make an appearance. The Water (or Nile) Monitor is a massive lizard that grows up to 2 metres in length and this one was nearly that long. It eats anything it can overpower and looked as if it might have a go at one of the Hamerkop. Both knew the gap was too big, but it does illustrate how there is a certain tolerance between predator and potential prey.



I have more photos of elephants than any other animal, but they provide endless interest and entertainment so no doubt I shall have many more. We came upon this herd on our way back to Letaba. It was another very hot day and the urge for a swim was irresistible.

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Old 21st February 2019
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 3

Thanks for more excellent commentary and seriously good photographs, I'm really enjoying this series.
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Old 23rd February 2019
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 3

Thanks for the three sets. It's so refreshing to see species other than the usual suspects.

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Old 23rd February 2019
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 3

So many people are obsessed with the Big five but there are over 500 other species to see!
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