Day 6 - 5 September 2006 –
It's moving day again and we are up bright and early wondering what lies ahead. Could it be
We say goodbye to our spartan room and the sausage tree (hippos love these things) in front of our bungalow.
That reminds me that earlier in our stay in Lower Sabie, I photographed my SO reaching up for a sausage in front of our bungalow. After I finished the shot, I followed her back to the bungalow. Try as I would, I could not open the door. People here seem to insist on putting locks on the wrong side of the door and in this case I was using a skeleton key with a loose lock and just couldn't get it right.
SO tried it to no avail. Finally, after uttering several choice words that cannot be repeated here I decided to go to reception and get help. I was furious at the people that designed these antiquated misplaced locks. Got my car keys out and lo and behold my car was missing. I immediately thought that this was too much of a coincidence to be locked out and lose the car. Sure enough, we were trying to get into the wrong bungalow.
Back to moving day. We were out of the bungalow by 7 a.m. and went over to reception to check out. We saw this overturned trash can in the parking lot. Since there is no safety lid on it, I'm sure this must be an everyday occurrence.
Finally we're out of there and heading north to Olifants on the H10. First significant sighting was for zebra crossing the road in front of us.
SO said she spotted a hyena but when we pulled up close it was doing an excellent impression of being another zebra. Drove by warthogs, giraffe, and another herd of at least 13 zebra right off the road.
A little further up the H10 we spotted our first lion.
It was a male and two females with a kill.
(We were delighted to see lions as I was beginning to think I would have to change my name to Bert Jr. if we did not run across any. )
The male was sitting by the kill and every time a female would approach he would chase her away. No "ladies first" etiquette in the bush. We stayed there for some time but could never get a clean photo of the male although we could see the females clearly. We grudgingly left and continued our journey. We have now seen four of the big five, missing only the leopard. We wondered if we would run across any during our stay. But we were totally pleased with the fantastic sightings that we have had so far and were happy we had made the long journey to Kruger. Our next stop was the Nkumbe lookout. It had a beautiful panoramic view, and we got out and stretched our legs (at our own risk as it said on the signs posted).
Headed back on the H10 and then turned on the Orpen Dam loop. We spotted a couple of steenbok along the road.
A beautiful setting awaited us at the Orpen Dam lookout. Saw yellow-billed storks, hippos, and several nesting grey herons.
Nesting grey herons in a treetop
Yellow-billed storks in the treetops
Grey heron in flight
After that, we headed south on the H1-3 to the Tshokwane picnic area to have a late breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. We were surrounded by lots of beautiful blue starlings looking longingly at our food.
Miombo blue-eared starling
Back on the H1-3 to Olifants via Satara. Came across eight wildebeest grazing, and then a young bull elephant feeding.
More zebra, giraffe, and a Kudu.
We stop by the Mazthi waterhole right off the road and saw several waterbuck.
Turned off the road to see our first Baobob tree. It looks like it is upside down with the roots reaching to the sky.
Back on the H1-3. Spotted a Yellow-billled Kite in flight.
We drove further on up the road and passed many of the same usual suspects, finally stopping in Satara for a light lunch. Back on the road, and for a long stretch saw no animals. Passed through a large "controlled burn" area.
Finally came across one lone cape buffalo. Then we passed an ellie and a herd of zebra. The zebras were standing with their heads resting on each other's backs.
That way, they could see in all directions. Next we saw some Kudu and a couple of Bateleur eagles in the distance.
We next stopped on the Olifants river bridge and saw hippos, crocs, and ellies. There is a beautiful view from the bridge.
Drove on and stopped at the Nwamanzi Lookout.
I got out of the car and my SO had a fright when a vervet tried to climb in through her open window. We saw 16 hippos in one location and 13 more basking in the sun.
We finally arrived at the Olifants camp. Our initial impression was very positive and it turned out that this was our favorite camp of all six that we stayed in. We had a perimeter BB2VD bungalow.
It was # 11 and had a fantastic view from the veranda. There were no safety catches on the outside trash cans and the vervets were pulling the lids off and taking things out. Since our refrigerator was outside, we turned it around against the wall so that the vervets could not open the door. Clever little devils.
After unpacking and settling in, we opened a bottle of good South African wine and sat on our veranda enjoying the beauty of the Kruger. Life doesn't get any better than this.