Both morning and afternoon excursions were so rich and rewarding that it is difficult to know where to start. The numbers of animals and birds close to the river are already staggering and seem to increase daily.
We started the day watching the sunrise in a beautiful backwater. Again, the colours, the puffs of cloud on the horizon and the reflections off the water kept us quiet – just enjoying the beauty and the serenity!
All around were Yellow – billed Storks, busy-busy Pied Kingfishers, Spoonbills and White – faced Ducks.
And in a nearby bay a large herd of elephants arrived for an early morning drink and a splash! We were able to drift close to them and seeing them from the waters level again emphasised their size which contrasts with the gentle nature of these huge animals.
As we sat there a Skimmer started skimming right next to our boat.
Photo: Wim van den Heever
Again and again he approached to within 2 meters of our boat, lower beak in the water as we watched, almost forgetting to lift our cameras. We spent 45 minutes with him, mesmerised and thrilled to capture so many full frame action shots.
Photo: Wim van den Heever
The banks of the river and its tributaries are filled with Pied Kingfishers. Their nests ar visible everywhere, especially as the water levels are dropping visibly.
Also, as the water drops, fish are trapped in puddles of different sizes and are easy prey for the different birds, Water Monitors and Crocodiles which are ever alert for this type of opportunity.
We found a flock of about 30 Spoonbills feeding in the shallows, with one or two Yellow – billed Storks among them. Nearby Cormorants, Darters and Herons were equally busy.
Then a friendly Marsh Harrier appeared, giving us even more fantastic photos.
Heading back to the Nguni Voyager for casino online brunch we found a large African Rock Python sunning itself on a large rock – and to our surprise, our next sighting was of a Boomslang, relaxed and curled up in the sun.
During our break time some elected to go fishing again, while others either enjoyed some Lightroom exercises or relaxed on the boat deck until it was time to set out again.
This afternoon we decided to simply drift quietly and slowly down the river, watching the never ending spectacle on the river bank. Once again animals and birds abounded.
One of our first sightings was another Rock Python … this one a little smaller than the other, and sleeping in a crack in a tree.
We have had an unusual sighting each day, and today was no different. We saw White – backed Night Herons, usually so shy and retiring, but this time we were able to get some great photos.
Then Brown – hooded Kingfishers appeared shortly before a herd of 50 giraffe strolled into view. We watched as the giraffe licked the mineral – rich soil and alternated this with drinks of water from the river or one of the many streams.
As we turned around a huge herd of buffalo arrived at the waters edge. As some drank their fill, others wallowed in the mud, unhurried and content.
We headed toward Elephant Bay for the sunset, passing uncountable birds and animals on the way. We noted a few herds of elephant, numbering between 30 and 50 members in each herd.
As the sun started to set a troop of baboons arrived accompanied by a large number of tiny babies. We watched them, amused and delighted as they played, jumping, falling clumsily, chasing one another, and clinging to a handy adult whenever things became too boisterous. What a lovely way to end an idyllic day!
Back on the boat this evening we are again relaxing, soaking up the serenity and gazing again in awe at the brilliant stars above. There is no moon visible, and the blackness of the night with the brightly glittering stars is indescribably impressive.