I spent a bit of time in Mopani. The viewing deck below the restaurant is such a great spot to watch the animals that come to the dam. And every time I went there, there was a lot that was happening.

On the first afternoon when I went to buy charcoal at the shop I spotted a Mocking Cliff Chat. When I stopped at the viewing deck the next day, I saw him again.Mocking Cliff Chat

He didn’t move very far, and when he arrived with some food, I followed him to the viewing deck and found his secret.Mocking Cliff Chat Mocking Cliff Chat

It was so adorable to see the little heads pop over the edge of the nest and the orange mouths open wide in anticipation of food.Mocking Cliff ChatMocking Cliff Chat   Mocking Cliff Chat

When there were lots of people in the viewing area, the adults would be skittish. But as soon as it was quiet, they would bring food. I just had to stand to the side and wait.

Mocking Cliff Chat   Mocking Cliff Chat Mocking Cliff Chat   Mocking Cliff Chat

I loved spending time with this little family every time I visited the camp. It was without a doubt one of the best sightings of the trip.

The male was a really handsome fellow.Mocking Cliff Chat Mocking Cliff Chat   Mocking Cliff Chat

There were lots of other birds around. Sunbirds and Puffbacks, Yellow-billed Kites and a Yellow-billed Hornbill.Yellow Billed Hornbill

There was a pair of Purple Rollers and a Giant Kingfisher.Giant Kingfisher

Almost every time I was in the viewing area, I saw this weird little squirrel.Tree Squirrel

He would lie completely flat in the same spot every time.

Tree Squirrel   Tree Squirrel

I had lunch and breakfast at the restaurant on different days to charge my camera batteries. It is so relaxing to sit outside and look out over the Pioneer Dam and just breathe in Kruger.Pioneer Dam

I enjoyed seeing a Marabou Stork while having breakfast.Marabou Stork

Who does not know the iconic Mopani Baobab?Baobab

I also noticed another unusual tree outside Mopani.Tree

I enjoyed watching a pair of hippos play.

Hippo   Hippo

I had to go back to reception to get my exit permit, and saw this little group of African Migrant Butterflies.African Migrant

Giant Plated LizardThere were also a few interesting reptiles.

I can’t remember when last I’ve seen a Giant Plated Lizard.

There were two of them the one day, and they were totally relaxed with my presence.

Giant Plated Lizard

I just love the way they swagger.

There were also a few Rainbow Skinks. This one did not have the usual coloration.Rainbow Skink

These two however made it very obvious where the Skink got his name from.Rainbow SkinkRainbow Skink   Rainbow Skink

But the highlight of every visit to Mopani camp was the elephants that came to drink. When one herd left, another arrived.ElephantElephant   Elephant

There are really so few things better in this world than watching elephants enjoy water.Elephant Elephant   Elephant

I wondered if these two were twins – they were almost the exact size.Elephant

The water fun continued.

Elephant   Elephant

I loved it when the elephant families came for a drink together.Elephant Elephant   Elephant

Of all the swimming moments, my favourite was when a family with youngsters came for a swim.Elephant

As I watched their happy antics, I could not help but think that they gave new meaning to the words “cuddle puddle”.Elephant 


Elephant  Elephant

I am not sure that anyone can watch something like this without smiling.Elephant

Elephant   Elephant

Every time elephants arrived at the dam, I smiled. Which basically mean I laughed all the time I was there because the elephant action was non-stop.Elephant Elephant

Whether they were face planting or splashing about, it was just awesome to watch.Elephant Elephant Elephant

Seeing elephants in water is such an experience. Their joy is so obvious. And so contagious.

Elephant   Elephant Elephant   Elephant

I spent quite a bit of time on the viewing deck every day. I t was a lovely cool spot to spend the hottest part of the day, and the many, many elephants that came to drin every time I was there made it absolutely perfect!

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