Day 3 – part 2
We wanted to try and gauge the amount of damage from the natural fire which had occurred in the area in the last few days as we were due to travel to Satara for two nights the next day.
We went down to Leeupan and Silolweni, both were dry as a bone and the area was devastated by the fire
. Everything was black and devoid of any sign of life. It was heartbreaking
& I was in a dilemma as Satara is my favourite camp for game viewing, but it crystallised in our minds that we should try and get a transfer of our accommodation. Time in Kruger was precious and we were reluctant to spend a whole day travelling through this kind of desolation with no animals in site.
We doubled back on to the H10 and came across some of our favourite giraffes again.
A little way further on there was a car stopped but as we couldn’t see what they were looking so intently through their binoculars at we asked them. It turned out to be four lionesses
. The bush was so thick it was impossible to get a clear view but we managed a couple of shots before the traffic jam had built up & people were getting antsy again so we decided to move on.
We were trundling along when I caught a glimpse of something which I knew would appeal to the Pipster.
“Stop P! Go back, there’s someone I think is pleased to see you!”
Yep, it was one of those infamous five legged elephants but this one brought a whole new meaning to the name “Big Boy”!!
“I have a whole new respect for the female elephant T, that’s gotta hurt!” muttered the Pipster.
We laughed so much we were crying, ridiculously childish for a couple of fortysomething women but what can I say? Sometimes it feels good to be so childish.
No pictures of “Big Boy” as unfortunately we were laughing too hard & he suddenly got shy and hid his modesty in the bush.
Next up was a beautiful little steenbokkie who couldn’t be bothered to run away for a change & then another hairy backed warthog who looked like he had just been to the hairdresser.
Along the Muntshe loop junction we came across this ostrich family, you can’t see the chicks very clearly as they were so well camouflaged but Mum & Dad weren’t letting them out of their site.
On the way to Mlondozi we met a small buffalo herd and a few wildebeest.
There were too many people at the lookout for my liking
but the view is spectacular and I knew the Pipster would love it so we parked up and took a couple of beers out of the cooler. An elephant was tearing lumps of the tree in front of our car but he seemed happy enough, so we quietly closed our doors and found ourselves a seat at the far end away from the masses and drank in the beer and the fabulous vista.
Three different herds made their way down to the dam during the hour we were there, it was a magical view & a fish eagle was circling and crying overhead.
I enjoyed watching this lizard that looked like it had been sprinkled with glitter.
Two couples who had stepped straight out of the days of the Raj
; the two women were bedecked in khaki, accessorised with the obligatory leopard print chiffon (the pith helmets must have been in the car) were eating lunch and talking at the tops of their voices.
“Priscilla daaaarling, this pate is simply divine. You must give me the recipe daaaarling”
Priscilla’s husband was lamenting the fact that a troublesome martial eagle was in the habit of picking off his lambs and he was debating whether to poison it, shoot it or trans-locate it at great expense and no guarantee of success.
All I kept hoping was that they would trans-locate themselves as far away from me as possible!
A cheeky vervet was eyeing their picnic intently and he managed to grab a naartjie when Priscilla’s eye was off the ball.
All the time Priscilla was mithering about the elephant who was quietly chomping the bush in front of our car and edging closer to the toilet block.
“I really think he’s too close you know. They say elephants come right under this shelter sometimes. It’s so dangerous. Don’t you think it’s too close?”
When her own party were ignoring her she moved on to anyone else who would listen and started hectoring everyone else who was sat there.
When we first got out of the car I’d said to the Pipster we would keep an eye out, if he started moving up to the car park then we would move the car. However, as soon as she started nagging I could see the Pipster’s hackles rise & I winked at her.
“I’m buggered if I’m moving the car now T! I’ll sit here and wait until midnight for the elephant to move before letting Priscilla think she knows best!”
Eventually Mr Priscilla could take no more.
He could see she would carry on until Christmas unless either he or the elephant moved and so they left, much to everyone’s relief.
We sat there for a while longer enjoying the peace after they had left, and the elephant quietly munched his way through another tree before he too moved down the bank, satisfied that he had scared off the dreadful Priscilla and her happy Colonial band.
It had got very hot by now so we made our way down to Lower Sabie where the Pipster did some shopping for our evening braai and I checked out the view from our perimeter bungalow
. We had asked about the possibility of swapping our accommodation for the next three nights and were lucky that a guest cottage was available at Biyamiti. We hummed and hahed about it, I was reluctant to forego two nights at Satara and one at Olifants
but on the evidence we had seen today we would lose a day of decent game viewing if we stuck to that plan so we bit the bullet.
“Let’s take a beer down to Sunset Dam P” a suggestion which the Pipster readily agreed to
and we were soon parked up, swearing profusely about reluctant hippos yet again!
She refused to be defeated this time though, this lady was not for turning and with persistence she caught some shots of them not slobbing about and looking like rocks.
We were admiring this gorgeous sunset when the game drive vehicle parked up on the opposite side of the road.
It must have been Martie leading the group and she was pointing out four lions lying under a bush near the road.
I don’t know how long they had been sat there listening to us swearing at hippos!
The light was bad by this time and they were hiding under the bush so we didn’t get good pics, as folk were now jockeying for position we decided to go back to camp.
When we got to our bungalow two British couple were just settling in next door, we told them there were lions at the dam and if they were quick they would catch them so they hopped in their car and came back 40 minutes later elated as one lion had chosen to cross the road right in front of them.
We lit the brai and cracked open the wine to celebrate another successful day but when the Pipster opened the chicken the smell nearly knocked her off her feet; it was rank!
So this evenings meal was a vegetarian affair consisting of potatoes & onions on the brai with fried mushrooms and salad.
We’d finished our meal, the Pipster was having a last vino on the stoep and I was just getting out of the shower when two gunshots rang out in the darkness.
We were worried. The shots were close and sounded like they were from within the camp. Had an animal got in to camp?
We knew there were lions were close by at the dam earlier & I had heard one roaring in the riverbed when we were getting dinner ready. We hoped it wasn’t one of them.