Was fascinated to see a klipspringer making a meal of a rubber tree Euphorbia tirucalli, the milky sap of which causes all sorts of vile reactions in humans.
The resort's attraction is the hot spring whose waters escape the earth at a modest rate of 54 litres an hour and an impressive temperature of 58 degrees centigrade and, of course, have reputed healing powers. The pool around the source has an underground viewing chamber where you ought to be able to see this happening but the windows have been completely fogged over by algae.
There are four other pools, kiddies, cold, hot and hotter - the hot being at 38 degrees - a bit much for me so didn't bother with the hotter which is indoor nogal.
These aloes were just coming into flower and reminded me of a red-crested korhaan..............
...........and the magnificent maroon flowers of the sausage tree Kigelia africana were eagerly chomped by the local antelope.
It was then on to Zvakanaka, which apparently means no worries in some obscure language. Up in the Zoutspansberg, 11 km from Makhado it, by contrast has all of four campsites. They are all very private, have magnificent views and come with a covered concrete slab and gas stove - I believe it's referred to as glamping, but at R100 a night it is certainly appealing, think I may be here a while.
There are dozens of white pears Dombeya rotundifolia around which look as though they are covered in snow - too beautiful.................
...............and up close the flowers are in tightly packed bouquets.
Came through the Hendrik Verwoerd tunnels on the way here, which beg the question how the heck has that name survived? Didn't want to do the touristy thing with the Beast in tow, so took a trundle back down there mainly to see the old road which I vaguely remember traversing as a child. It is amazing that they managed to squeeze a road into that tiny crevasse.
The surrounding farms are into avo's and macadamia nuts and the flowers of the latter look very similar to a local family of trees of the genus Faurea, which got me googling and sure enough they are also part of the Proteaceae family and hail from Australia.
On the rare occasions that my family could afford a South African holiday, the first overnight stop was always at the Mountain Inn, which is still around and just up the road. The joy of staying in a place with a magical garden was always tempered slightly by the view of the road which would have to be tackled the next day - arrow straight for most of the 100 km to Polokwane.
While this farm is trying to be indigenous and given over to game it's losing the battle but there are a couple of trails up the mountain that are free of aliens so like an idiot, off I went. Thought I'd reached Everest base camp by the time I got to the top, but the view was worth it............
..................... I guess........................
...................I warned you what would happen if you got too big for your roots!
Had it in mind to revisit Mapungubwe but wanted to check out the roads before taking the Beast there so booked in for a couple of nights, courtesy of a generous return from the taxman. The main camp, Leokwe, is unfenced and when Jo and I visited an elephant wandered though. This time there were only klipspringer but the ellies were all around. The two-bed units consist of linked rondavels that are beautifully appointed and have an outdoor shower.
It is situated in a crater that wouldn't look out of place on Mars and the local freckled nightjar bow-wow'ed me to sleep'
For most of the year Mapungubwe does a very good hot and dry so was surprised to find a large dam filled to the brim.
One of the features is this hill which may ring a bell, as a certain Meneer Moordyk, who farmed in the area, was inspired enough to submit a design based on it's shape to the committee which was responsible for selecting a suitable design for the Voortrekker Monument.
..............then on to the tree top walk though riverine forest on a boardwalk of impressive dimensions.
Slight design flaw? Or didn't allow for growth?
Unfortunately the Shashi river was down to a trickle which allowed all the Botswana cattle to come to the party.
What do you mean "no entry"?
Up at the confluence lookout points, there is this to one side..........
...........and this to the other. The great grey-green Limpopo River (?) all set about with fever trees. As with Crooks Corner in Kruger there's a Poacher's Corner here where Botswana, Zimbabwe and SA meet.
At the confluence the Limpopo once more becomes a river courtesy of the Shashi's meager flow.
Something new since my last visit is the Museum, restaurant and Education Centre housed in this unbelievable structure clad in local stone and looking rather like Zimbabwe Ruins which is where the descendants of the community that lived in this valley ended up. The abundant history of the area is covered extremely well in the museum which charges R55.55 entry - seriously, who came up with that figure.
Missed the full moon by one night but it was light enough to read by at tinkle time or 1 a.m.
For an area that is so dry it takes one aback somewhat when you are suddenly confronted with the sublime tranquility of Zebra Pan.
Found a small herd of ellies molesting a baobab and they did look quite embarrassed about it.
Back at Zvakanaka I was treated to a sunset of epic West Coast magnitude.