Tuesday, our last day and we woke up to rain. It continued until about 10 am which scuppered all ideas I had of going for an early birding walk.
However, when the rain stopped I wandered a short distance and saw some nice birds - a grey headed bush shrike, a blue waxbill together with, I think, a redbilled firefinch (a first for me), a grey loerie, goliath heron, crested barbet, cutthroat finches, bronze mannikins, black headed oriole and two purple crested loeries.
Across the river four ground hornbills were striding along foraging as they went. A bit far away for my little camera.
Two saddlebills walked along the sand, this one didn’t seem concerned about passing Mr Croc …
We eventually entered the Park after 12 and drove to Skukuza. It was a lean day, sightings-wise, and remained cloudy and cool all day. Not even much at Sunset Dam as we passed, other than the regular crocs and hippo on the bank.
This was, perhaps, more of a bird day than mammal. We came upon a white fronted bee eater, so pretty and so difficult to photograph in the still-cloudy afternoon. But we hadn’t travelled far when we came across several more and they posed nicely for us. They were hunting, leaving the perch to grab their prey and returning to devour it.
We crossed the Sabie high level bridge just to see if there was anything, but all we found was a white bakkie on the bridge with both occupants out of the vehicle …
Continuing up a near empty Eloff Street we were rewarded with the highlight of the afternoon at a tiny, nearly dry, pan where Mr Saddlebill had caught himself a fish. (One last bum shot
We watched for some time until he eventually swallowed it, and you could see the lump travel down his neck.
I wonder if the fish was still wriggling after he had swallowed it?
We arrived at Skukuza to find the power off. We were too late for the braai lunch and nothing could be prepared in the café, so we had to make do with what I felt was over-priced food which was not up to standard. I am ashamed that overseas visitors are offered this kind of service, especially as they are not so likely to have the facilities to make their own lunches. Home made padkos for me next time. This cartoon on a tour operator's vehicle amused me.
On the way back to CB we came across baboons ...
I just missed the pic of this fellow having his tail groomed to the tip – right up in the air.
A closer view of two ground hornbills which crossed the road ahead of us
And a quiet drive back to the gate included more baboons, buffalo, impala, two bushbuck, giraffe, wildebeeste, zebra and one last rhino.
The Ngwenya road is being upgraded and with no space to make a proper detour, you cross and re-cross the road, driving along short lengths of very narrow diversion, complete with corrugations, which hug the farmland and crop fields. A bit hairy when a truck or bus is approaching. That day, after the rain, we were able to add some ‘status symbol’ mud to the car.
One last evening of listening to the hippo in the river and one last morning of the Egyptian geese waking us with their raucous calls……