South Africa
Sedgefield Lagoon

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    • Day 17

      May 22 - Panorama Route

      May 22, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      Our plan for today was to drive the Panorama Route which is a scenic road connecting several cultural and natural points of interest. The route, steeped in the history of South Africa, is in Mpumalanga province, centred around the Blyde River Canyon, the world's third largest canyon.

      Our first stop was to be God’s Window, a vantage point on the Drakensberg Escarpment where the cliffs drop 700 metres from the vantage point. On a clear day, visitors can see clear to the Mozambique border. We were going to combine seeing that vista with a short hike through an indigenous forest, but it was not to be. The fog was very thick, and we wouldn’t have been able to see anything.

      There was a stop called Pinnacle Rock nearby that wasn’t fogged in that Behki had never been at, so we took a chance on it. Behki is going to recommend it as a great option for future tours. The views were fabulous; it was easy to access; and there was a great little market there.

      Next stop was Bourke's Luck Potholes which is a series of natural geological formations that were formed by centuries of water flowing through the landscape. The potholes occur where the Treur River joins the Blyde River at the start of the Blyde River Canyon. In a continuous manner, the force of the water in these two rivers, combined with the particles of sand and rock that the rivers' transport, wears cylindrical potholes into the sandstone bedrock. Fabulous! A geologist’s dream!

      Next stop was Three Rondavels. This phenomenon is named after small, grass huts called rondavels due to its remarkable resemblance. The shapes are due to erosion of softer limestone, leaving harder quartzite behind. The Bapedi knew these formations as the Chief and his three wives. The flat-topped peak was named Mapjaneng ('the chief') after a legendary Bapedi chief, Maripi Mashile, who defeated invading Swazis in a great battle near here. The three peaks are named after his three wives – Magabolie, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto.

      Our last stop was Blyde River Canyon – It is part of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is carved out of nearly 2,5 km of red sandstone. Also known as the Motlatse Canyon, it is the third largest canyon on Earth and is situated below the confluence of the Blyde ('joy') and Treur ('sorrow') rivers. The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is carved out of of red sandstone and is one of South Africa's most remarkable geological features. Also known as the Motlatse Canyon, it is the third largest canyon on Earth. Fabulous views on this clear, calm day.
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    • Day 17

      May 22 - Evening Game Drive

      May 22, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      We hustled our way from the Panorama Route to Kapama Private Game Reserve. We had just enough time to check in and get our cameras ready for our 4:00 p.m. game drive. See a later post for photos of this fabulous place.

      Our spotter for our game drive was Tony who sat perched on a jump seat over top of the front left headlight on the safari vehicle. Harry, our driver, proved to be an expert at traversing the hilly, rutted unpaved roads. When it got dark, he swung a bright spotlight, left and right, left and right, looking for the light to bounce off the eyes of the animals.

      We saw eland and Zazu, the bird from the Lion King. On our way into the park, we had seen a mother giraffe and her 4-day old baby. So very sweet.

      And then we saw elephants – a bull and a baby. The baby elephant flapped his ears and his trunk and pretended to charge at us, all in an effort to appear ferocious. The main word we used to describe him was “cute”. It was the most adorable display of natural wildlife and one we will all remember.

      We stopped for a sundowner – drinks and snacks just as the sun went down on another exciting and informative day in South Africa. We didn't add any more animals to our BRELL count, but that's okay. We'll try again tomorrow.
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    • Day 18

      May 23 - Morning Game Drive

      May 23, 2023 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

      Up at 5:00 a.m. On safari at 6:00 a.m., again with Tony as our spotter and Harry as our driver and tracker. We learned how to expertly duck left, duck right, duck down as branches came close. Some of them have incredibly long and sharp needles on them.

      A couple of times, we had to go off-road to get around fallen trees on the road. And Tony had to pull out his machete occasionally. Elephants pull up trees and small animals build their homes under the tree. Then bigger animals eat them; bigger yet animals eat them, and then the lions and leopards finally eat the biggest ones in the food chain.
      In short order, we saw a giraffe and a zebra. And then zebra with an impala. Then a lone male buffalo who had been kicked out of his herd because he was too slow to keep up with their movements. We saw Zazu, the beautiful black and white bird again. So regal looking.

      We stopped for our morning coffee. Always a pleasure to have a wee drink, relive the great sightings we had already had, and plot our strategy for finding leopards! We really want to be able to say that we saw all of Africa’s Big Five.
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