Finally it was still not late enough to check in so we originally only wanted to check whether the S65 was open and after realizing that in fact same was open we decided to drive a small detour via this road although not expecting much to see and in the end it turned out that we were right. The birds obviously avoided the heat and also other animals only appeared sporadically – For example this elephant bull in the large riverbed of the N’waswitshaka which you have to cross on that road
to be followed by two buffalo bulls in the next riverbed.
The rest of our drive was quiet so we made it in no time back to Skukuza and after checking in I triumphantly showed Timon the key of the Lion Cottage which I had asked for and which was meanwhile granted to us for the fifth time and after we moved in we enjoyed the view from our huge verandah over the strong flowing Sabie river.
As we only left for our afternoon drive quite late we skipped our original plan to drive via the highwater bridge and back via the low water bridge as we only had to hurry and would have had no time to stop for sightings so we only drive up to the highwater bridge and checked each and every loop along the tar road and compared to last year and even after this year’s flood the riverbed looks already much more overgrown
as this picture with some grazing hippos on simply proved.
In one of the many trees whilst staying in one of these loops and scanning the area we nearly overlooked this African fish eagle as same was simply too close.
Finally nearly at the highwater bridge an injured baboon was sitting on the roadside apart from the clan and was licking a wound on his arm.
He looked as if he was sorry with himself but the wound indeed must have hurt immensely. Some smaller teenage baboons finally joined and comforted him.
As already said it was now already extreme late so we could not stay long and had to turn around and it was due to clouds nearly dark and if not another car made us aware of a couple of hyaenas sleeping in a nearly dry riverbed which we had to cross we would have overlooked same as we oviously did already on our way to the highwater bridge.
The adult one, obviously mom, auntie or the babysitter, kept sleeping the whole time the sighting lasted and kept hidden behind a small bush.
The two pups were about to wake up and one was extreme agile already whereas the other one only stood up, looked up to us, did the cat stretch and whilst doing so
already laid down again – It was simply far too early to wake up completely!
On this picture same looked as if it was smiling – maybe it dreamt already from a yummy dinner later that night!
Meanwhile the light nearly faded due to the cloudy weather and the dense foliage and I watched the clock suspiciously but we still had enough time to stay a bit longer as on top the more active one was now even coming a bit closer
drank from a puddle and exercised on the many rocks which also were plentiful
and tried to reach another puddle with obviously some better tasting water.
Then it was also for us time to leave in order to be back in time and we had to say bye bye although we wanted to stay a bit longer.
All in all it was a quiet day and compared to the other quiet days same was even quieter and with the many road closures on top a bit disappointing especially as we had in the past years or better to say always when we stayed in Skukuza some great sightings with many surprises but we still had tomorrow and nobody knows what might come across and I only can say now that it started quiet again but then.......
As it was Valentine’s day today I already had booked a table in the Selati Train restaurant from home and although we stayed already a couple of times in this very atmospheric restaurant we never ate that great there as we did that night. We both had different salads as starters which would normally already be enough to be filled up – Timon chose fish for the main and I had a chicken pizza which arrived freshly made and large as a cartwheel!
Needless to say that I only managed to eat half of it and gladly the waitress asked whether I would like to have a doggy bag which I accepted as same simply looked too yummy. It was simply a fantastic evening with great wine and after we strolled back to our bungalow we went straight to bed and slept happily.Friday, 15th February, 2013 – Skukuza
The next morning after the obligatory morning coffee on our verandah with the awesome view over the Sabie river we headed for our morning drive forward on the S1/S65 but somehow that road did not like us because besides only one single hyaena
we saw nothing even no bird. I know that on that road awesome sightings occur and I also know that one day same will be extreme productive for us but not during this holiday and on top not today.
As in no time due to the lack of sightings we finished the S65 and therefore we decided to even drive down up to the Biyamiti weir already knowing that same was still closed but finally our drive that far down had been held up by some road blocks in form of massive grey animals which even occur in herds.
This one appeared out of nowhere silently and the matriarch was not that sure what to do and so the rest of the herd neither.
Gladly for us was that we had a more than comfortable safety distance and so the matriarch relaxed again – obviously she got lost – and she simply was recapitulating where to walk next. As soundless as the whole herd appeared they disappeared again
and it was as if there was definitely no roadblock only seconds earlier. Actually we did not come far as the next barricade already awaited us in form of a large group of rhinos.to be continued with finally some golden kitties.....