Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shingwedzi - Day Seven - Oh What a Beautiful Morning...

Up and out at 06h15.  Breakfast today consisted of coffee, biscuits and yoghurt. 

All was very still and relaxed .

I went off and washed the dishes and did some laundry so that it could dry off in the heat while we were out for the day exploring the Shingwedzi Valley.  It was only whilst doing these chores that I learned that we were only going to be leaving at 10:00 so that people could have long breakfasts and lie ins!  What a waste!  No wonder we never see any game - they've all migrated for the day by the time we get out there!  In this climate we should be down by the river by 06:00 while it is still cool.  I'm sure there would be herds of game gathering for their water.

So Gordon read and I caught up with this entry, muttering to myself about the lackadaisical manner in which people like to enjoy themselves.  But, everyone is different and there was really nothing I could do about it anyway.  But next time... 

See, even this Shongololo is on an urgent mission...  aha - rain must be on its way, much to the dismay of many...  This was quite a big guy, have a look at the track it left in the sand... 
We camped right next to the water tank in a nice quiet spot ...

The time eventually ticked by and by 10:00 it was 29 degrees Celcius and everyone was rearing to go. 

Johan led us out of the campsite and along a very bushy and  exciting route
where the track took us  
 on a challenging up and down track and across a dry riverbed..
where we came to a plain where elephant must have been a while back.  Just look at these footprints  - I would say they were about 50cm long from toe to heel.  

About forty minutes later we were quite high up

and after a bit of a narrow and slow squeeze,
we came to a lookout where we looked down onto the Shingwedzi Valley and river.   

Such a breathtaking sight...
Coming up from the trees across the otherside was the sound of jungle birds - so clear and very talkative. 

Single animal tracks impressed in the sand along the river was the only evidence of any animals being in the vicinity.

And this little guy scampered by quite unperturbed by all the activity around his territory.

I wonder who lives down THIS hole...

We took the road back from the viewpoint and carried on down to Ngwenya on the Shingwedzi for lunch.  

What a scorcher! 
A mean 35 degrees at 14:00. 

Gordon grabbed a tin of sardines and a packet of biscuits and we sat on the rocks down by the river, cooling our feet while embracing the scenery, the solitude and tranquility and true
magnificence of beauty, nestled in a place far from home,

not seen to be appreciated every day.

These are the strangest bugs ever seen!

We made our way back to camp the way we came but it seemed somewhat more challenging in that all the downhills had now become uphills! 

Did we sweat!  It just poured!  And not a solitary breeze for relief.

We spent a very quiet evening with boiled potato and grilled Kingklip on the menu - delicious! 

No frogs were attracted by our light and in fact, there were very few insects out and about too.

We sauntered up to bed at about 21:30. 

Lights out.  Everyone heading toward the land of nod.


Then.  It.  Came!  At some hour of the morning!  A bright flash.

By the time Gordon got out there it was already becoming aggressive and he quickly did what he could to rescue as much as possible from it.

It carried on until about 07:00 and with it came new challenges for the new day...

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