Marula Rest Camp, Kruger National Park
Made an early start from Letaba to go to Marula Camp which is the camping site near Orpen Gate. It is small and I have been there many times before but it has always remained one of my favourites. A huge elephant peaks out from behind a bush. Despite their size, they are not readily seen at times as they blend in so well with their surroundings.There is one spot on the sand road which I take that has a small pool of water on the side. In it is a crocodile of about 2m (6’) in length.
It lives comfortably with what I have called “attack terrapins”. The strange thing is that when one stops there, not a single terrapin is in sight but sit there for a minute and you begin to see them coming up from below the water and swimming towards you. They even start to get out of the water onto the road next to your car. These terrapins are found in most of the pools and dams in the Park but this is the only place I have come across where they do this. They are Serrated Hinged Terrapins and have a protrusion at the bottom of the mouth which looks like teeth, hence my name for them. I have asked an expert what these “teeth-like” tentacles are and he suggests that they may have a sensory function which helps when grubbing around in the mud but not much is known about them.
Crossing the Olifants River, the water level is high from all the recent rains.
A hippo crosses the sandbank to get back in the water after being out for the night feeding. They have skins which are 5cm thick and constitutes a large percentage of their body weight.
This has to be one of the smallest Flap-necked chameleons I have found. It’s tongue can dart out to catch prey at a speed of 20km per hour. I just love those little feet which is so like our hands!!
I wonder though where he puts it as I cannot see it in this picture and I know it is the same length as his body? LOL!! It must be curled up in that bottom part below his jaw. J
Young Impala born last November/December are everywhere. At three months old, the males are just starting to get their horns.
It has been a full and long day with many more exciting sightings besides these. At Marula, we manage to find a lovely spot next to the fence where a Hyaena prowls along the fence at night in hope of someone feeding it scraps from their braai (BBQ).
The rain clouds were building up and on the second night we had a storm like no other. By morning, my tent and mattress were soaked through. When I picked the mattress up, the water poured out of it like a sponge. The whole of the next (and last day there) there was intermittent rain with no chance for anything to get dry so we decided to head for Satara Camp where we could get a chalet and have a chance to get things dried out.