Day 2, March 9
After a hot long night we were up early, we were happy to spend our first full day in Kruger! Yesterday we found out that we could only check in after 10am at Tsendze and since there were other campers on camp site # 26 there were not even a chance to pitch the tents before the heat gauge hits 40 again. In the mean time Skillie discovered that the back door of the trailer got damaged yesterday when we had to drive through a very very deep ditch created by the recent rains on one of the low maintenance roads we drove. The spare wheel mounted on the back door hit the edge of the ditch and the door now had a huge gap of 5cm at the bottom. It seemed like the spare wheel is mounted a to low and since its mounted on the door, bend the door. Luckily because we drove so slow on the low maintenance roads, not much dust got into the trailer. So we decided to leave the trailer in our hut’s parking spot since we only have to check out at 10am.
It was still early and we took the road to Mooiplaas waterhole. It was dead quite at the waterhole but this young White-fronted Plover was next to the road glowing in the morning sun.
We sat a while and still no visitors to the waterhole. We drove onwards on the S50 and spotted our first Ostriches between the Mopanies.
Along the way just more and more European Rollers on top of the trees.
The Mopanies were so dense and we saw nothing else all the way to the Nishawu Marshlands. It was so nice to break through the Mopanies for a change and there we saw black lapwings, European and Lilac-breasted Rollers and Grey-Hornbills. We sat in the open a while, but the green-green grass was as tall as the Hilux’s windows and all we spotted were an Ellie in the distance.
We drove on towards the S143 and along the way the Rollers decorated the trees. We were still in awe seeing these beautiful birds everywhere and stopped for almost all of them taking pictures. I stopped counting European Rollers at 40 that morning. All I can say is: luckily birds fly the skies and like to sit on top of the Mopanies….
We turned left on to the S143 or better known as the Tropic of Capricorn Loop (the rest of the S50 are closed) and the Mopanies seemed to open up a bit. A European Roller caught a grasshopper in the road a I caught him taking off.
We always spot Magpie Shrikes and this is the first time I could get any photos of them. They always take off as soon as you stop.
Then we saw our first Steenbokkie. She was adorable, she was kneeling under some grass and came out to look at us, then went back to her hiding spot again.
Another summer visitor, a Lesser Kestrel on a tree top, a lifer for us!
Then another summer visitor, a Lesser Grey Shrike, another lifer for us!
At last some Carmine Bee-eaters right next to the road and I got the chance to take a million photos!
The Mopanies opened up and all of a sudden it was like the “Massai Mara” in front of us. We were at Tihongonyeni waterhole, green waving grass with animals and birds everywhere you look, 360 degrees! There were Zebra, Blue-wildbeast, dozens of Ostriches, ELAND and TSETSSEBE! And more summer visitors, dozens and dozens of White Storks, European and Carmine Bee-eaters hovering above the grass and dozens of Barn Swallows. Also Kruger’s resident Egyptian Geese, Comb Ducks and Red-billed Teals, Blacksmith and Crowned Lapwings everywhere and thousands of Red-billed Queleas.
Photos to follow....