06 September 2022

Up to Olifants Camp

16 July 2022 - Roodewaal, KNP; Day 2

After a good nights sleep we were out of the gate by 6am and were greeted to a magnificent sunrise as we turned onto the Timbavati road. Mist, dead trees and golden light - mesmerizing

Roodewaal sunrise

Just after turning onto the tar road heading north to Olifants Camp, we were one of 3 cars with a pack of 4 Wild Dogs - what a start. They alternated from running in the road to checking the bush on either side until they disappeared into the bush. No kill, but always a thrill to see. I generally dislike photographing animals on the tar road, but sometimes you dont get to choose..

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

Just before the Olifants Camp turnoff, we had great views of Black-crowned Tchagra in the early morning light

Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegalus)

We stopped at the viewpoint over the Olifants River and enjoyed watching a herd of Elephants that had come down to drink. There were also a couple of Hippo cavorting in the river below and I had to laugh when an Afrikaans couple called them Bosveld Dolphins

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Just before the gate of Olifants, I heard a raptor calling and after much searching, we found a pair of African Hawk-Eagle's, but one on each side of the road. This is a poor record shot of the one bird returning to its perch.

African Hawk-Eagle (Aquila spilogaster)

We enjoyed some welcome coffee at Olifants camp. After which we explored the boardwalk and viewpoints from the camp. Aloes were in flower, so I enjoyed some time with a few White-bellied Sunbirds

Male White-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala)

We then had a slow drive back to Roodewaal, finding a Tawny Eagle on the nest with a single youngster - a little distant, but awesome to see

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)

Not much further along on a graceful young Kudu bull browsing 

Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

Back on the Timbavati Road, a few White-crowned Shrikes made an appearance

Southern White-crowned Shrike (Eurocephalus anguitimens)

We then enjoyed a late brunch at camp and relaxed around the lapa for most of the day. Later in the afternoon, I did a short drive, but this time planned to go south on the Timbavati Road. Just as I exited the gate of Roodewaal I had to stop for a big heard of Ele's on their way down to the river. I switched off the car and enjoyed them as they passed behind and in front of me on their way for a drink

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

On this drive, I found Burchell's Starling

Burchell's Starling (Lamprotornis australis)

A couple of Magpie Shrikes

Magpie Shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus)

A singled Bearded Woodpecker

Bearded Woodpecker (Chloropicus namaquus)

The obligatory Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)

and good numbers of Kori Bustard - the world's heaviest flying bird

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori)

Along with a few Tree Squirrels

Tree Squirrel (Paraxerus cepapi)

By this time, sundowners were calling, so it was back to camp for braai, beer and wine along with good company and conversation

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