H1-5 tar road
The H1-5 tar road between Letaba and Olifants camps takes one through relatively flat mopane shrubveld. Just before Olifants lies Shamiriri, one of a number of northern-facing sandstone hills that form the watershed between the Olifants and Letaba rivers.
Passing Shamiriri Hill at 297m, one soon approaches the Olifants River and one of the most beautiful stretches of the Park opens up as the mopane gives way to Olifants rugged veld, and one is met head on by the lush, riverine forest of the Olifants River. There are often leopard sightings along this stretch of the road as these big cats like to hunt in the bush around the river and in the koppies.
A particularly good viewpoint overlooking the Olifants River on the west of the main road is reached just after the H8 turn-off. There is a magnificent sycamore fig with lots of bird activity with a number of jackal-berries and matumis closer to the water’s edge. The most common big animals seen along here are elephant and buffalo, while herds of impala move along the fringes of the riverine bush.
Letaba River Road (S46, S44, S93)This road skirts the south bank of Engelhaard Dam and follows the Letaba River almost to its confluence with the Letaba River. Unfortunately the 2000 floods adversely affected the views of the Engelhard by depositing large sandbanks along the river's edge which became thick reedbeds obscuring the water 's view from the road.
The proximity of the River usually means there is some game around but the scraggly and stony veld with sparse grazing and patches of bare earth does not allow much carrying capacity.
Occasional views of the river with giraffe and hippo on the other side can be seen as the road winds and climbs through the thickets. On the dust roads between Letaba and Olifants lion kills are often spottted with their prey, mainly buffalo.
The Olifants get-out view point comes highly recommended for its beautiful views onto the river below and the Lebombo range to the east. On the S44 birders stand a good chance of being rewarded with sightings of the rare saddle-billed and black storks, with the Olifants River being one of their main breeding grounds.
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