From Timbavati it was off to a a stunning flat in Ngwenya which overlooked the Crocodile River and ellies by the dozen feeding peacefully below.
A stroll around the extensive gardens turned up a species of millipede, new to me, handsomely striped with yellow.
Sun-downers on the deck were accompanied by a rather special sunset.
.........and a pride of over-stuffed lions sleeping off their massive lunch.
On an early foray the following morning we stopped to ask what another carload of people were looking at and they pointed out this strange spectacle, a smallish python pretending to be a branch in the hope of attracting an unwary bird.
Maralyn's nephew works in Kruger and is doing a long term study of yellow-billed ox-peckers and is always happy to receive information regarding sightings. Though normally associated with buffalo we found this chap working on a giraffe - note that the beak is not wholly yellow.
Most areas of the park have been blessed with rain, so the veld is looking really good and the animals likewise, are glowing with health from the bounty.
As I have a fascination with all things winged I was drawn to the Nelspruit Airshow and while most of the big guns from the circuit were absent there were large numbers of private aircraft such as this gaggle of Vans RV's
As it's not exactly blessed with a brilliant climb rate this old Antonov AN2 took off at least 20 minutes before.......
.........it dropped of a bunch of skydivers to open the show. Last man down was this fellow trailing an enormous flag.
The old girl then hooked up with an assortment of others for a slow flyby in formation, then did a break just in front of the crowd line.
Next up a magnificently restored Boeing Stearman took off to do a solo display.
Nothing quite like the roar of rotary engines of Harvard T6's with veteran Scully Levine leading the pack.
The aforementioned private planes took off to form an extraordinary nine ship display............
......which then split into five and four man teams who each did their things, plus numerous others. The whole thing was somewhat spoiled by an over-enthusiastic DJ pumping out incredibly loud music.
After a stint of house/pet sitting, I moved up to Hazyview to a site that had a lovely view but was too close to the R40 for comfort, so I escaped to the peaceful quiet of Pretoriouskop in Kruger.
As the grass is as high as the proverbial elephant's eye, game sightings were fairly rare but a family of giraffe allowed me the opportunity to show another difference between males and females, he has pattern baldness on his "horns".............
............while she, as befits a lady, has a full head of hair!
Came across several magnificent kudu bulls sporting full sets of horns. Apparently they grow one full twist a year until they reach three and a half turns. It is a rare, though unfortunate, occurrence that competing males sometime become inextricably entwined when fighting and both eventually die of thirst.
One thing that was very noticeable was how relaxed all the elephant were - obviously a result of the abundance of food resources.
An enormous conk does tend to give yellow-billed hornbills a down-in-the-mouth look but according to some recent research the beak acts as an air-conditioner allowing them an alternative cooling mechanism that is unique. They are also rather comical when a pair gets together for a chin-wag and bob and bow to one another while calling.
Dropped in to Skukuza for coffee and noticed droppings under the eaves of the shop and on looking up found these flying chihuahuas or epauleted fruit bats roosting. The epaulets are the little white patches in front of the ears.
Bateleur eagles take 6 to 7 years and 4 moults to reach adulthood and this female is almost there. Why is it a female? The white primaries on the wings which in flight result in a much thinner black trailing edge than the males.
Here's Pretorious' kop (head) which leads me to believe that he had the same problem as I have!
Just to prove that you never stop learning, I watched this lady doing a staccato drum-beat on a hollow branch in some amazement as I'd always assumed it was only the males that indulged in this behavior. Not so, the infallible Mr Robert's informed me, both sexes are aspirant Charlie Watts. A few days later I was also astonished to learn that they are not the only species in SA to do this. A cardinal woodpecker flew into a tree above me and proceeded to make a noise like a mini-jackhammer, something I've never before witnessed.
Try as I might there's just no way I can make this pile of rocks resemble it's name - Ship Mountain, but that is what the wagoneers of yore referred to it as - good old Sir Percy Fitzpatrick included - and by the way he wasn't knighted for his book about Jock.
A close-up reveals that's exactly what it is, a giant rockery and the bits that appear to be slathered in lime green paint, actually sport coats of lichen.