Monday, 30 October 2017

Part 7 of our Southern African trip, back to Mahikeng and then further south.

We left Elephant Sands with a long drive ahead of us, 823 km back to Mahikeng, as you can see on the map below.  Patrick drove the whole way and we arrived safely back at their house.  Thanks Patrick!



On the first part of the trip, we had to keep a very watchful eye out for elephants that were often close to the road side; no fences here...!!


They were everywhere, and would suddenly pop into view out of the tall bush...


We had departed very early in the morning, so after an hour, we stopped at Nata Lodge for a coffee...


Loved the decor as we entered the lodge!


A little further on, we just had to record the fact that we were crossing the apparently  ever-slightly-moving Tropic of Capricorn at about 23 degrees South.  It moves 15 metres (18 feet) per year to the North! Well, I never knew that!


 Otherwise, a pretty uneventful trip, and back in Mahikeng we saw these bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus) in a reserve...


Springbok (Damaliscus pygargus); also the rare sub species, the black springbok.....


and the pure white.  Both male and female have horns, although the female horns are slightly thinner.


More bonteboks...


and a number of hadada (or hadeda) ibis (Bostrychia hagedash); they are very noisy and allegedly the loudest bird in Africa!!!  They have an extremely loud and distinctive "haa-haa-haa-de-dah" call—hence the name.


We had one day to 'relax' in Mahikeng, to catch up with all the washing etc, and then we were on the road again, heading south-east - just look at the view and the empty road in the Free State province!!  In all, this leg of the trip was just under 1000 km (625 miles), as you can see from the map....


We made an overnight stop at Harrismith, around the half way mark, at the very comfortable La La Nathi Lodge just outside the town...


Stunning and spacious individual accommodation...


and a view over the thatched roofs in a very strange light as the sun went down.


The following day found us at Leisure Bay, where we stayed with fellow blogger Joan. We promised no personal photographs,  so are sorry you will not get to see her!   We did, however, see and photograph some of the local wildlife around her home.


Cape white eye (Zosterops virens), seen in the garden...


 African pied wagtail,  (Motacilla aguimp)....


Brown-hooded kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris) on one of the street lights...


I am no specialist on crabs, but this one sitting in a salty puddle took my eye...


and here is a hermit crab; odd creatures with an abdomen that is concealed in a scavenged mollusc shell.  They change shells as they grow in size! 


Red-winged starling (Onychognathus morio).


and finally,  vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) who appeared in every corner of Joan's gardenMales have a mass of 6kg and measure 1.1 m in length, whereas females are slightly smaller and weigh only 4kg.   They are one of only two monkey species in South Africa,  the other being the Samango monkey.

Next we are off to friends in Pietermaritzburg, who take us on a really amazing tour of Kwa-Zulu-Natal!!  Watch this space.....



Also see my daily diary HERE



and My Life Before Charente (updated  25 September 2016) I will get back to this eventually! 

22 comments:

  1. Diane what amazing photos always you have and I love Africa, love this elephant looks amazing!
    and the site looks wonderful . What lovely travel you had Diane ! hugs!

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    1. If you ever have a chance to go to a game reserve in Africa jump at it. Amazing animals and a chance to see them in their natural habitat. Take care Diane

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  2. This leg involved a lot of driving, to be sure! The wildlife was just spectacular. It's great that you got to meet up with another blogger, regardless of pictures; I'm sure it just made that day a bit more fun.

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    1. It was really fun meeting Joan as we have been following each other almost from day one that I started blogging. It was through her that I discovered Geogypsy blog and then met Gaelyn at the Grand Canyon last year. Loved meeting every blogger so far from all over the world. Keep well Diane

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  3. Fabulous post and photos. I really love the coast line and that room at the lodge is stunning!

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    1. Thanks Joyful, La la Nathi Lodge was very special. It was a pity it was not too far from the main road and the truck noise carried. Having said that we slept well. I do love Africa :-))) Keep well Diane

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  4. Hi Diane - what a pleasure to see these and read your notes ... I checked out the Capricorn move - fascinating is our world ... then the elephant are amazing. Bet Harrismith was rather wonderful to reach ... that's one long drive ... loved seeing the Hermit Crab - having written that they have their own housing agencies! it's a pleasure to actually see it happening. Love the crab in the salty pool ... and then Leisure Bay - excellent ... loved it - so African - cheers Hilary

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    1. We were also amazed about the tropic of Capricorn being on the move. Strange things happen in our world!!! Leisure Bay was lovely, and it was fantastic to meet Joan having known her through blogging for so long. Hope you are well, Diane

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  5. Hello Diane. Your wildlife photos are spectacular. I am so glad that you saw so many elephants, makes one believe that they will survive despite man. I didn't know there were white or black springbok, how lucky you were to see them. I love your African safaris. Kim

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    1. Kim the poachers are around but finding their prey in other places is easier. In Botswana they shoot to kill poachers which is how I think it should be and it is a big deterrent!! Keep well Diane

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  6. How exciting to elephants popping out of the bush along the road, if you're watchful. I wonder if the Tropic of Capricorn sign gets moved every year? So fortunate you got to visit with Joan, who is a real poop about having her photo taken and shared.

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    1. Bet the sign is now way off its mark LOL. Loved meeting Joan and yes sad no photos shared though I have a couple for the memory :-) So many elephants, next time you go plan a trip to Elephant sands you would love it there. They do have camping as well but not sure if I would be happy with so many elephants around!! Keep well Diane

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  7. Beautiful animals, amazing birds too. My favorite is the elephant, such a magnificent animal. Thank you Diane, your photos are inspiring.

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    1. The elephants a re amazing beasts I cannot understand how anyone would want to shoot them!! Take care Diane

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  8. What fun adventures you go on... thanks for taking us along. Great photos!!!

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    1. It is a pleasure Pam and glad that you enjoyed the trip. Have a great day Diane

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  9. Loved seeing those magnificent elephants in the wild...great trip.

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    1. Karen I just hope that they stay in the wild, numbers are diminishing all the time :-((( Keep well Diane

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  10. They were long road trips. The accommodation looks very comfortable too.

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    1. We are used to long road trips both in RSA and in France and here we did at least have a break. Harrismith was a great stop over. T'other Diane

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  11. Nearly missed this post, Diane!

    As the accommodation get even more civilised and the wildlife stays so spectacular, I get more and more tempted. I'm not sure that Mrs. P. will take the bait, however. The nearest I've been to Africa is Morocco which, although technically Africa, is more like southern Europe in many ways.

    A superb and spectacular post - thank you!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Richard we have also been to Morocco and there is simply no comparison, they are as different as chalk and cheese.

      There is civilised accommodation every where in South Africa if you want it, we just wanted to be a bit more in the bush at places without actually camping. The only thing that you would probably require in many of the out of the way game reserves is a 4 x 4 especially if you arrived when we did, towards the end of the rainy season.

      On the other hand, the roads in Kruger National Park, which I opted out of going to this time in preference to a trip to Botswana, the roads generally are not too bad and although there would probably be more people around you driving would be easier. I prefer rugged and less people! A great place for a holiday. Joan who we met at the South Coast is now living near Kruger and if you wanted anyone as a guide she would be perfect. She has great knowledge of the park and of the animals.

      Keep well, cheers Diane

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