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.
He didn’t move very far, and when he arrived with some food, I followed him to the viewing deck and found his secret.
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.
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.
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.
There were lots of other birds around. Sunbirds and Puffbacks, Yellow-billed Kites and a Yellow-billed Hornbill.
There was a pair of Purple Rollers and a Giant Kingfisher.
Almost every time I was in the viewing area, I saw this weird little squirrel.
He would lie completely flat in the same spot every time.
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.
I enjoyed seeing a Marabou Stork while having breakfast.
Who does not know the iconic Mopani Baobab?
I also noticed another unusual tree outside Mopani.
I enjoyed watching a pair of hippos play.
I had to go back to reception to get my exit permit, and saw this little group of African Migrant Butterflies.
There 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.
I just love the way they swagger.
There were also a few Rainbow Skinks. This one did not have the usual coloration.
These two however made it very obvious where the Skink got his name from.
But the highlight of every visit to Mopani camp was the elephants that came to drink. When one herd left, another arrived.
There are really so few things better in this world than watching elephants enjoy water.
I wondered if these two were twins – they were almost the exact size.
The water fun continued.
I loved it when the elephant families came for a drink together.
Of all the swimming moments, my favourite was when a family with youngsters came for a swim.
As I watched their happy antics, I could not help but think that they gave new meaning to the words “cuddle puddle”.
I am not sure that anyone can watch something like this without smiling.
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.
Whether they were face planting or splashing about, it was just awesome to watch.
Seeing elephants in water is such an experience. Their joy is so obvious. And so contagious.
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!