Saturday, August 13, 2016

Out and about around Halali.

Woke up late which in this place is about 06:30 and took our time getting going.  We had decided to have scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast but we didn't have any bread so I went over to the shop to get some and on the way back witnessed a group of Italians, another one, vs the NWR (Namibia Wildlife Reserves).  The Italians were having breakfast but had taken enough off the table to have a sizeable lunch from it as well and NWR were insisting that this wasn't right and that if they wanted to take enough for lunch they would be charge $70 per person.  I left before the dispute was resolved but I would put my money on NWR ...

Before heading out we had a quick trip to the waterhole and met up with the people that we had helped to change their rear tyre which, by the way, was a Hankook and over the course of the trip they had had three punctures and all in the same wheel.  That seems pretty odd to me.  Anyway, they had some more bad news, one of their party in a Ford Everest automatic has a problem with the gearbox/clutch and can't get out of third limiting their top speed to a paltry 60km/hr and with over 2000km to go to get back home, that is a real problem not to mention the worry that it might break down for good at any time during that trip.  Not sure what they are going to do but it is either going to take a very long time or be very expensive.  So after four months from rolling off the showroom floor it is going to be going in for major repairs.

While going to wash up after breakfast I saw a black and white slinky out of the corner of my eye ... ratels in camp coming for the rubbish of which there was plenty.  Very picky rubbish raiders, completely ignoring some plastic bags and trashing others to get the tasty titbits therein.  I got my camera and was busy taking photographs when I got just that little bit too close and the ratel went into defence mode which in it's case is more like an unconsumated attack.  I quickly backed off and let them have their way with the rubbish.

The basic drive today was around Elands Drive and then back towards Halali along the road next to the pan.  The Elands drive road has lots of places where the road has sunk into black cotton soil which is fine now in the dry season but must be hell to drive through in the wet season.  We came across the chinese group in their corolla who were parked in the veld and from the tyre marks, they must have skidded off the road.  Not sure why because the road was flat, they all are here, and straight.  There was an overlander helping them and it all seemed under control so we didn't stop.

Driving next to a pan gives one an irresistable urge to drive out onto the pan and the NWR have cleverly given people the opportunity to do this in a limited way so there is a lolipop road out about a kilometer into the middle of the pan and I happily drove out there just to have done it.

We saw some more birdies today, it really does fill in the time between seeing the bigger animals quite nicely.

Todays roll call was
  • Juvenile Gynogene
  • Purple roller
  • white crested helmet shrike
  • Secretary bird which stalked around and then would start stomping its feet to flush out insects which it would then snack on.

In the afternoon the ratels were back and causing distress to the Italians who tried to sho them away, a tactic that doesn't work at all with ratels so the Italians escalated the conflict and pointed a hairdryer at them and the ratel went ballistic, all fluffed up and spitting mad.  The Italians backed off, a very wise move.

Went to the water hole before sunset with cheese and wine and sat there until just after 20:00 and had procession of game coming and going.  The first to arrive were the Burchells Sandgrouse in a large flock and then a Soutern African wild cat who had to cross some open ground to get to the water and it's camoflage is so good that we could barely see him even on the open ground.  Next up was a black backed jackal which the wild cat didn't like and promptly disappeared.  The black backed jackal was displace in turn by a Spotted Hyaena who had to make way for a pack of 13 elephants that came charging in, clearly very thirsty.  Next up was a rhino that wanted to drink but he happened to approach from the same side as the elephants and was clearly uncomfortable with pushing the elephants aside so he skirted around behind them in a clockwise direction until there weren't any more elephants but now he was right next to all the tourists which he didn't like either so he reverse direction and went anti-clockwise until he could get to the water.  Having now got to the water, the elephants happened to move in a clockwise direction and couldn't get past the rhino and milled around until the matriach when up really close to the rhino who just ignored them and eventually the elephants slid past the rhino one by one and disappeared into the night.  Quite fascinating.

By 20:00 we decided that it was time to go and make supper which was a braai which I built in the provided braai areas and we were just discussing what to do with the meat if the ratels came back and who arrives, the ratel and his/her mate and made a bee line for our supper.  I didn't know what to do so I held it all above my head and they skirted around us and made for other campsites.  We could locate them at any time by the yelps of surprise and the gaggle of teenagers with camera's following them around.

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