Shingwedzi to Mopani to Letaba on H1-6 Via Buffalo Kill 5 Metres from Roadside

I've recorded my drives up and down the road between Shingwedzi and Mopani on a few occasions so I start this description around Mopani and heading south to Letaba.

H1-6 Kruger National park Mopani to Letaba  After a short stop at Mopani Camp we headed south to Letaba Rest Camp. In view of the time of day we headed down the main road, the H1-6, with the intention to return to do the Tsendze and other minor loops the next day. The drive down took us to the Klein Nshawu borehole, waypoint 349 was the turnoff, some 15 kms or so south of Mopani and waypoint 350 was the actual Klein Nshawu Pan (further to the east are a number of pans with the Nshawu name hence the Klein. Before we reached Mopani we saw some sights and I've included a few below with short commentary.
Waterbuck Kruger National Park Take a look at the photo of the waterbuck (click to enlarge) and notice how perfect nature is ... aren't the colours of the animal and the surroundings just perfect?
Baboons feasting on pale yellow blossoms of tree Kruger National park And shortly after seeing the Waterbuck alongside the main road was a tree full of monkeys ... baboons actually. They were eating the pale yellow blossoms from the tree.
Baobabs nests and colours A little further down the road on the right was a Baobab full of Red Billed Weaver nests but what was truly wonderful was the mix of colours at and around the tree. Take a look. I just love this shot, its so evocative of northern Kruger in winter.
Elephant in burned veld Kruger National Park Now for a contrast ... The next shot shows quite dramatically the starkness that results, albeit it temporarily from burning the Veld. This elephant didn't seem to care too much but he was obviously on his way to greener pastures somewhere closer to the Shingwedzi River probably.
Elephant family crossing road Kruger National park The family of elephants you see here came scuttling out of the Mopane trees after a mudbath probably to help reduce the wrinkles in the skin. These massive creatures always seem to give off an air of insecurity and a sense of great urgency whenever they are in groups with young and crossing the roads. Unlike the lone bulls or small groups of bulls that hang around forever sometimes. We met one of these bulls a bit later on the bend of a road and he was not going anywhere while there was such sweet grass at the roadside. He kept us waiting for about 15 minutes.
Bulbul feedeing on aloe We called in at Mopani for a bite to eat and took advantage of the beautiful Impala Lilies in full flower along with the aloe on which a White-bellied Sunbird and a Dark-capped Bulbul were feeding.
Impala Lily Mpani Camp Kruger park This Impala Lily specimen was just outside the Fish Eagle Terrace at Mopani and must be very old to have reached such a size.
Butterflies on unknown herb-like plant Kruger National Park Shortly after leaving Mopani camp on the way to Letaba we came across a herb-like plant which reminded me of Rosemary (didn't smell like it when crushed) or a type of Lavender. It had tiny purple flowers and was abuzz with a whole assortment of butterflies. I couldn't remember noticing the plant before yet later down the road it occupied a very significant portion of the low-lying areas (waypoint 354). In this lowland, or bottomlands to give it its correct terminology, the plant had almost the whole area to itself apart from some grasses. This went on for a few kilometres before Mopane shrub took over again. I have made my mind up that I need to become more familiar with the landscapes of Kruger which are so fascinating by virtue of their variety. I cannot hope to ever get into a situation that I can identify most of the trees, shrubs and grasses though.
Femal Ostriches Kruger National Park Two female Ostriches came into view on the left as we approached Middlevlei (refers to the middle one of 3 such reservoirs in the area) watering point at waypoint 351. Walking parallel to us on the left were 2 elephants heading towards the concrete container and when they got there they could hardly wait to siphon the water from over the concrete wall into their mouths via the long trunk. A bull elephant might drink in excess of 40 litres at a time.
elephant drinking from reservoir Kruger National park Over the years the elephants of Kruger have shown a distinct preference for drinking from these large round concrete reservoirs and this has created a problem of trampling and destroying thin soil layers which has resulted in species depletion at these points. Many of these watering points have been and are still being closed down. Soil erosion due to trampling and over-grazing close to this type of water source is one of the reasons for this action.
Black Shouldered Kite Kruger National Park Waypoint 352 is the new road turn-off to the Giriyondo border post officially opened by the Presidents of Mozambique Zimbabwe and South Africa on August 16th and if to mark the importance there was a massive herd of Buffalo grazing, drinking and resting just a few yards down the road in a large open space at waypoint 353. I have written a separate article which you can access here.
 Close by watching from the branch of a dead tree was a majestic Black-shouldered Kite.
Letaba River Kruger National park. The glorious Letaba River, waypoint 355, on its way to join the Olifants is a wonderful site and makes a spectacular view from the bridge (where you can get out). The river crossing is about 6 kms or so from the Letaba Rest Camp ... we were to get a major surprise just the other side of the bridge but for the time being we'd stopped and gazed in wonder at the clear slowly flowing waters winding their way through sandbanks bedecked with sedge-type grasses. The Letaba is one of only 5 perennial rivers in the Kruger National Park ... one of these 5, the Olifants stopped flowing for the very first time on record for about 70 days last year signaling the threat forces outside the Park boundaries can have upon a complete eco-system.
Buffalo killed by 6 lions Kruger national park There it was, lying 5 metres from the edge of the road. There was a deep hole some 40cms wide on the right rump of the dead Buffalo.  The muzzle of the Buffalo was completely raw ... I presume from a struggle as the lions responsible (and there were 6 apparently) dragged the beast down, while one kept the mouth of the fighting doomed-to-die Buffalo closed to suffocate it. Other than for the hole in the rump and the gruesome facial area the Buffalo was intact and the lions were nowhere to be seen ... but they were close by for certain. Gareth, my son took the evening drive and managed to get some great photos of the lions enjoying their second feeding. When we drove by the next day the lions had managed to drag the beast another 5 metres towards the bush ... now having been lightened through 6 hungry lions having gorged themselves on this bovine feast.
And the day after ... it could not be seen at all. It was just as though nothing had ever happened at this spot ... yet only a few metres away, somewhere close by, there were stories acting themselves out in the presence of witnesses like vultures, jackals and Hyaena's. And you can check ... visit waypoint 356. That's where the dead Buffalo was lying.
Letaba Camp Entrance Kruger National park The Letaba Camp, at waypoint 358, was a welcome sight and was reached shortly after waypoint 357 where we had a wonderful view of the Letaba River and a vast number of Egyptian Geese (more than I've ever seen together before) in and around the shallow waters of this great river.
Egyptian Geese Letaba kruger National park It had been a long drive from Shingwedzi, but a tantalizing and breathtaking, exciting and surprising view of Africa at its finest. Some of the photographs shown might just hint at the pleasures to be had here in the Kruger. Come along ... take a look yourself.