Thanks for your comments.
Jockelina, I am writing this between all the World Cup soccer games and a war with ants that keep invading my house. I am afraid you have to wait till tomorrow for part 3.
Hi Katja, you will find a detailed report on www.thekruger.com
under "articles and incidents" about the elephant.
Part 2: Maroela - Pretoriuskop - Berg en Dal - Lower Sabie - 1 st day Balule
A whole group of vultures (lappedfaced -, whiteheaded - but mostly whitebacked vultures) on the banks of the Sand river (H 1-2 between the turn offs for the Maroela loop). I do remember seeing vultures at the same spot in February.
Lots of impala, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and warthog near Maroela. I see my first black-backed jackal. In my opinion and experience Maroela is the best place to see black-backed jackals. Also lots of crowned plovers, five ground hornbills and a saddle billed stork.
Black-backed jackal day! I see four of them in the morning and one in the evening near Pretoriuskop. One catches a mouse or a rat.
At Tshokwane a vervet monkey steals a muffin from two ladies.
Somebody had told me that there was a wild dog den near the Stevenson - Hamilton memorial tablet. I can not find it. But I do see a klipspringer.
May 23 rd
Watched the sunrise from Shabeni (S 10). While watching two klipspringers a safari guide tells me about two male lions "next to the road, 3 point 3 kilometer from the junction". I don't see them. Later I see a breeding herd of elephants on the Fayi loop.
My first sable in Kruger! A herd of at least 8 crosses the Voortrekkersroad.
It must be my lucky day: elephants, buffalo and five white rhino's together (Crocodile River road) and two other white rhino's going up to Berg en Dal (S 110).
May 25 th
Elephants, lots of giraffe, white rhino (3), Ground Hornbill and a puffadder.
I stop for a sunset picture somewhere between the turn off to the Crocodile River road and the tar road to Berg en Dal (S 110) and I suddenly see a leopard with a dead guineafowl in my mirror. I can almost touch it when it passes my car. The leopard keeps walking on the road and I am afraid I will not make it in time. I arrive in Berg en Dal at 5.29 pm.
May 26 th
Just before Afsaal a herd of impala is very alert and snorting alarm. One impala is lying down and acting very strange. It looks likes it has a problem with breathing and when it tries to stand up it tolls around like a drunk and falls again. The whole herd is looking at this impala and some come closer to see what's going on. My guess is that the impala was bitten by a snake. In the background a white rhino is sleeping.
In Skukuza I visit the Stevenson - Hamilton Memorial library. Still the same pictures as last year. And the year before.
I see a beautiful kudu bull on the S 28. Later lots of baboons at Sunset dam.
May 27 th
A beautiful sunrise with a lot of mist over the river. At one point it is zero degrees Celsius. I follow the S 28 to Crocodile river. It is a bit quiet with wildlife but not with cars. On the S 25, before the turn off to Hippo pools, there is small pool. I arrive in time to see five waterbuck. While watching the waterbuck I see a white rhino with calf approaching.
I follow the H 10 to Tshokwane. I do see two reedbuck, elephant, zebra, vervet monkey and kudu. I stop at Nkumbe but the visibility is not good because of bush fires. The lookout point is covered with cigarette butts.
Just after leaving Nkumbe I think I see a piece of wood (appr. 1,5 meter and 20 centimeters high) sticking out of the bush (I am looking into the sun). When I swing around it I realise it is a python. That must have been a monster. I wish I had seen that one.
Around Tshokwane the world is black and white because of the smoke. While watching a warthog a car stops and the people tell me a pride of lion with cubs crossed the road one kilometer down the road. Too late.
A very relaxed elephant bull is feeding next to the road.
A few kilometers before Satara I see a yellowbilled hornbill trying to eat a scorpion.
After the lunch I drive to Balule. While erecting my tent a spotted hyena walks by. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the hyena den one kilometer south of Balule. Two of the three cubs are wrestling, chasing each other and playing with sticks, the other one is nursing. When another adult arrives they show the greeting ceremony. What a fantastic animal. (In the May issue of Africa Geographic there is a very interesting article about spotted hyena's.)