Olifants to Orpen, and back to Joburg

by Caroline Killmer March. 02, 2012 3644 views

Rain starts to move in once more early in the morning at Olifants.

The SANParks logo was on everything, but this seemed to be taking things a little too far.

One weird, skinny, stiff worm wriggles. About 3 feet away another worm was doing the same dance. Mysterious!

The previous day we had tried to reach Olifants via a smaller dirt road, only to meet a car coming the other way whose driver told us the bridge was out. We passed said bridge on our way back out.

Flooding the previous month ransacked parts of the park, and we eventually learned, sometimes the hard way, that dirt roads on the map were not necessarily roads that went through at the time of our visit.

Warthog with oxpeckers.

On our way out of the park we encountered a large herd of elephants grazing contentedly by the roadside. Sitting quietly, listening to the wind in the grass and the grass in their teeth, was a perfect way to wind down our trip.

These two worked on this tree for a while together.

The two elephants in the background maintained that face-wrap arrangement for quite a while, and we were never quite clear on the meaning of it.

Baby elephant decides that he'll have what you're having.

Baby elephant ear fuzz.

Eventually the herd surrounded the babies and migrated across the road.

The view from one of the few places in the park where you can get out of your car, a long bridge where one likes to think you have plenty of time to see anything carnivorous coming your way.

The floods didn't take this bridge out, but they leave behind plenty of snarled snapped trees and grasses tangled around the pylons.

Lazy lions in the midday sun.

Swainson's spurfowl.

Zebra crossing (nyuk nyuk nyuk).

Yet-to-be-identified parking lot lizard.

African fishing eagle.

We came across a “traffic jam”, aka about three cars all in one spot on the road, and finally managed to see what was holding everybody up: kissing leopard tortoises.

Young impala.

I like how the impala in the back looks like it's saying something sassy.

Originally we had wanted to go to God's Window, but ran out of time. As it worked out, the road we wanted was unexpectedly closed and we were rerouted through Blyde River Canyon anyway, for a gorgeous, if harrowing drive.

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