Our last day at Entabeni and so far we had seen three of the big five, Elephants, Rhino and Lions. The plan was an early start and a search for cheetah. Once again a drive down from the upper escarpment along the narrow precipitous track. The cheetah were thought to be at the farthest boundary of the reserve, away from the lion. Although we saw numerous animals no cheetah were sighted. However we did see Giraffe, our first close sighting of a mother and baby, with Red Billed Oxpeckers clinging to their necks. Also a Reed Cormorant and a Pied Kingfisher were perched in trees near a waterhole.

the big five and Entabeni's Zebra


No Cheetahs today but herds of Zebra

Pied Kingfisher at Entabeni


Pied Kingfisher hunting in one of the many waterholes to be found at Entabeni

Portrait of Giraffe


Portrait of Giraffe

Red Billed Oxpeckers


Pair of Red Billed Oxpeckers feeding on the Giraffe

Burchells Starling


Seemed to be lots of Burchells Starlings around today

After breakfast back at the lodge we had time to take in the scenery and watch the Vervet Monkeys jumping onto the terraces and looking through windows. A brown snake was sunning itself on a rock outside our lodge.

 Vervet monkeys around the lodge


One of the many Vervet monkeys that were around the lodge

Picnic Lunch in the Bush

Lunch today was a picnic on the upper escarpment. We arrived at the picnic area next to a river, with a beautifully decorated table and chairs in the shade. The buffet was both decorative to look at and delicious to taste. A Rhonics Egg Eating Snake was discovered near a stone wall  area. We eventually had to tear ourselves away and head off back down the track to the lower escarpment.

Picnic Lunch on the upper escarpment


Picnic Lunch on the upper escarpment

C & A by the river


C & A by the river

Rhonics egg eating snake


Lunch with a Rhonics snake

The lower escapement


Back down to the lower escapement

Our ranger told us that a herd of Elephants together with some Cape Buffalo had been sighted in a thicket near the base of the escarpment. We followed the trails looking at tracks coming across a pair of male Kudu’s and a Burchells-coucal a member of the cuckoo family whilst looking for the elephants. 

Male Kudu


Male Kudu

Burchells coucal


Burchells coucal

Eventually the ranger discovered them, a group of ten Elephants. Unbelievably they were right next to the track. It always amazes us how such large creatures can remain hidden for so long especially as there were at least nine of them.  This must be one of the closest encounters we have had with elephants. One of them approached the vehicle and thrust his trunk over the front area and was sniffing us.

Elephant hiding in the bush


Finally we found them

One of the nine Elephants


One of the nine Elephants

We all sat totally still in amazement as we were eye to eye with this animal. Other vehicles came along and disturbed them. One of the guests, in another vehicle, had a camera with a flash which upset one of the elephants. He then charged at speed towards us. We hurriedly reversed, retraced our tracks and watched them from a distance.

Elephant checking out the vehicle


Checking out the vehicle

Elephant checking us out !!!


Now checking us out !!!

Elephant charging


Elephant charging

One upset Elephant


One upset Elephant

The light was starting to fade and so after our sundowners we headed back to the lodge for our evening meal.  It was time then to pack as tomorrow we were moving onto Mopane.

 

On To Mopane

Sundowers below the escapement


Sundowers below the escapement