On going through the gate at Lower Sabie all the other vehicles headed down the H4-2 we assumed to look for the leopard from last night. We were the only ones to turn onto the H10 and go over the bridge. At this point i must state that mine and SO’s attitude is whatever we see is a bonus it is more about the overall experience therefore we were happy that we were going to be on our own. From a reference point of view we had the following books lying along the front window:
Signs of the wild
Nigel Dennis - Where to watch game in the kryger
Guide to kruger exploring
The Raptors guide to southern africa
The behaviour guide to african mammals
Newmans birds by colour
Readers Digest - South African Wildlife
Newmans - Birds of southern africa
Just enough i guess!
The light was now fantastic as we crawled along at 10-20km per hour. We turned onto the S29 and spotted side stripped jackal and then honey badger which were both animals that we have not seen often. When people say we had fantastic sighting and spent many minutes with XXX animal we hope they realise how lucky they are. We saw both for about 2-5 seconds each as they crossed the road and disappeared but still cannot get over the privilege of the sighting even as i am writing this days after the event (no chance of any photo’s).
This is where we comment on how some visitors to Kruger completely miss the point. As expected we now encountered a fair bit of traffic as we turned onto the H10 and we estimate that the majority were if not breaking the 50km speed limit were definitely over 40km and this includes people towing caravans etc. My point is forget the danger to the wildlife (which is obvious) what are you likely to see at that speed. Kruger is not just about the big animals but maybe i am wrong. Remember we are in the prime game viewing hours not in the heat of the middle of the day. We got the impression that some visitors drive around the park with the objective to cover as much distance as possible and hope to see the sighting by encountering traffic jams and not by finding opportunities themselves.
We arrived at TSHOKWANE at 10am and had a quick breakfast and proceeded to Skukuza along the H1-2. We arrived at Skukuza at 11.50am and check in went smoothly. We went to the chalet and as we were staying for the next 3 nights unpacked and got settled in. As it was now the middle of the day we elected to have a few hours sleep and got out for an afternoon drive at 3.30pm. We awoke at 3.15pm and when to pack snacks and cool drinks for the drive. SO opened the cupboard to find that ants had eaten through the packaging on tuk biscuits and peanuts. That was a bit unexpected. We cleaned as best we could and packed things in the van except tins etc. Yes we had packed stuff in front of the fridge so no problem there at least.
The afternoon drive was on H-1-2,S83,H12,H4-1.
We had the following sightings during the day: Lilac breasted roller, elephant, yellow billed hornbill, red billed horn bill,terrapin, impala, fish eagle, burchells courcal, waterbuck, giraffe,malachite kingfisher,white back vulture, mongoose (various types), ground hornbill, helmeted guineafowl, wire tailed swallow, hippo, side stripped jackal, black backed jackal, kudu, white rhino, spotted hyena, honey badger, redbilled oxpecker, walhbergs eagle, hammerkop, monitor lizard, baboon, wilderbbeest, martial eagle, blacksmith plover, burchells starling, swainsons francolin, steenbok, woodland kingfisher, pied kingfisher, marabou stork - various other birds.
Information: Breeding is perennial but with most conceptions during the rains. Gestation is 14 - 14.5 months . Females can become pregnant at 4 years old but males need to 7 years to compete.
Need help to identify?
Information: Reproduce in 8 month intervals. Gestation is estimated at 166 - 177 days. Fawns weigh about 1 kg and are up after 5 minutes. At 2 weeks they begin to nibble
Need help to identify?
Information: Unlike other storks they fly with their necks tucked in. Generally in groups of a few birds
Information: Females calve first at 5 years and 3 - 4 years males are ready to enter reproductive competition. Gestation period of 11.5 months with weight at birth between 35 - 50kg and on feet after 10 minutes
On arrival back at camp we went to the shop and bought some firewood and went back to the chalet to braai.
I cannot think of anything nicer than sitting out with the food cooking on the fire having a glass of wine with loved ones. After diner once again it was a quick shower and of to bed. It started to rain around 9pm which totally changes the smells and sounds. I do not know how anyone else feels but the smell of bush during and after rain is one of the things i look forward to the most.