Spotting Rock Dassies

Mowani Mountain Camp - Day 2

Morning sun on the rocks and bleached trees of Mowani

It’s early in the morning, around 6:30am, on day two at Mowani and I had a bit of a restless night last night, I was quite feverish and I feel like I’m coming down with something. Kelly’s still asleep so I think I’m going to go out for a walk and see if I can catch the sunrise. I'm almost over to the main lodge and realise I should have brought my camera so I walk back to the suite and pick it up, I almost back to the main lodge again, and as I go to take a picture I realise that the battery is still in the charger back in the suite. Damn it, back I go again!

Finally I make it up to the rock platform where we watched the sunset last night and I find a comfy spot on one of the logs to sit and watch the shadows move across the landscape as the sun comes up. I’m here all by myself and the views are incredible, it’s so quiet and so still, makes me feel better by just being here.

Shadow of sunrise on the rocky landscape

Slowly the sun comes up over the mountains behind me as the rocks glow with the suns light and the bleached white trees become briliant in its light.

White tree

After watching the sun rise for an hour I get up and turn around to go back to the lodge when I see this funny little animal, sort of like a “Tribble” from Star Trek, sitting on top of a rock looking at me. As I slowly approach him, I notice off to my right, a whole line of the little guys sitting in the morning sun. I manage to get close enough to take a picture of him before he runs off.

Rock Dassie

Turns out he’s a Rock Dassie, sort of like a large guinea pig, with short ears and tail. As I make my way down from the rock I see that there are lots of them out in the morning sun, eating or just sunning themselves.

More Rock Dassies

When I get back to the suite the birds are awake and chirping and just as I’m walking in both of them fly off the lamp and exit the suite between the edge of the thatched roof and the walls. So much for my theory that they were trapped by the curtains.

Kelly is up and ready for the day so we head off to the main lodge for breakfast. Since arriving at Mowani we have been looked after by a young man named Ronnie, who is a friend of Henni from Onguma, and he shares the same humour as David and Henni so we are having a great time and being really well looked after.

There are a couple of other people in for breakfast and I start up a conversation with two of them, they turn out to be from Switzerland and their names are Monique and Walter. Apparently they arrived the same day we did but got in a bit earlier than us. Monique has been having a bit of trouble with her new camera, for some weird reason it keeps loosing images, and I offer to write off some of the images, using our netbook, to a USB stick she has.

After breakfast we head back to the suite for a bit of a breather and some book reading before lunch. I’m really enjoying the concept of the outdoor showers, except it can be a bit chilly if you are drying off when a gust of wind blows through.

Before lunch, I do a bit of lizard stalking around the main lodge, as I love the colours and the attitude of these little fellas, Attenborough eat your heart out.

Wildlife Photographer

I find a great example of a mature male Rock Agama. Apparently at night they turn a dark shade of brown but in the light of day he's looking stunning.

Male Red-headed Rock Agama

Kelly joins in and gets some great shots too, look at the ferocious mock teeth markings on her lips!

Female Rock Agama

At lunch we sit with Monique and Walter talking about our travels and sharing our photos and our experiences in Africa. After lunch we head for the pool to get a bit of relief from the heat. The pool is built in and around 3 huge boulders and is really cold! I jump in and after a few minutes everything equalises and it feels great.

The Rock Pool

On the way back to the suite we head for reception to book a game drive for tomorrow morning, oh oh, another early wake up call! At reception we meet up with Moses, the brother of Ben-oine, our guide at the Petrified Forest, and it turns out that he will be the guide for tomorrow morning, which is excellent.


We joke with Moses that Ben-oine said he (Moses) was the best guide and that he had a big reputation to live up to and that we expected to see the Desert Elephants. Monique and Walter and ourselves were the only ones signed in on the drive, and we hope it stays like that as it's much more fun with people you know.

We’ve arranged to sit with Monique and Walter this evening for Sundowners and asked them to grab a couple of beanbags and a log if they get there before us. I’m also going to try a 360˚ Panorama of the sunset, though I'm not quite sure how it will turn out. By the time we get to the big rock they are already there with drinks.

Monique and Walter

We sit down next to them, order a couple of Gin and Tonics and we are set for the sunset.

Ready to watch the sunset

Just before sunset I set up the pano gear and shoot off a round of pictures. Walter comes over to see what I'm up to so I've included him in the shoot.

The Sunset