Was in Kruger for a very enjoyable and relaxing 4 nights last week, staying at Malelane, Skukuza, Satara and Lower Sabie. Some highlights below and pics in subsequent posts.
Sat 29th :
Flew from Cape Town to KMIA, then reached Malelane gate at about 4:30, where we immediately booked on a sunset drive, which revealed a lone elephant, six white rhino at Matjulu waterhole, porcupine, white-tailed mongoose, civet, scrub hare and hyena.
Sun 30th :
S119 – 2 sightings of white rhino across the riverbed, one a mother with calf. Large gathering of White-backed and Hooded vultures in a couple of dead trees next to the road, but no kill in sight, just roosting.
Renosterpan – white rhino next to the road and brief sighting of serval running across the road.
Transport Dam – large gathering of waterbuck, inquisitively approaching a crocodile basking on the bank. Good collection of birds, including fish eagle, hamerkop, woolly-necked stork.
S65 – 2 lionesses in the middle distance, not a great sighting, just missed them crossing the road.
Lake Panic – hippo in touching distance of the hide, massive croc, good collection of waterbirds as expected.
H1-2 : Small herd of buffalo
Mon 31st :
Salitje Rd – quiet except for unusual sight of a hippo lying down in the grass, not on the river side of the road – we thought he was dead at first, but flickering ears revealed he was alive, but not looking too well.
H10 – Single lioness on wall at Loskop waterhole. She got up shortly after we arrived and crossed the road in front of us, we followed her movements through the bush till she went to ground.
Orpen Dam loop – 2 lionesses having a snooze in the midday sun. Also saw ostrich on this road.
S86 Nwaswitsontso Loop – 2 mating lions which had been by the side of the road, but had now moved deeper into the bush, we could just make out their sleeping bodies.
Satara camp – some new birds to my list, lots of activity at the waterhole – impala, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, kudu.
Satara sunset drive – black-shouldered kite made number 100 on my Southern African life list. Night drive also revealed impala, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, warthog, large herd of buffalo including a huge bull, giraffe, black-backed jackal, common duiker, steenbok, chameleon, civet in the open, hyena. But highlight was three lionesses on S100 in the road watching some impala in the distance. When we looked behind us on the other side of the truck, we were amazed to see 4 cubs emerging from the river bed and they came right up to the vehicle in curiosity. Spent about 45 minutes at this seen and could hear more cubs calling from the riverbed. These will be the same ones seen by Sharks and Craigsa. Cracking experience - years of misery along the S100 now forgiven!
Tues 1st :
Morning drive along H7 via Girivane, then down S36 to Muzandzeni and along Sweni Rd all very quiet, saved only by a spectacular sunrise over Nsemani Dam.
Along H6, just missed male lion in the road close to Nwanetsi, but are compensated by sighting of first ever other yellow ribbon in Nwanetsi parking lot. After asking around, eventually found Sharks & SO cooking breakfast, where we had a quick introduction and chat.
S41 - we came across a scene with a couple of tawny eagles and a couple of bateleurs. Next moment, a hyena runs across the road. We drive to where he crossed, where we are told that he has just scared a leopard off his kill. We stick around listening to the crunching bones of the hyena tucking into his impala buffet and hoping for a glimpse of the leopard. The grass is quite long and our vehicle is just not high enough for any decent photos. As the vultures start arriving, the leopard breaks cover to leave the scene and we catch sight of him for a couple of brief nanoseconds.
S100 – Lion cubs from the night before sitting in the grass watching us watching them. Hyena crossing the road just before intersection with H1-3.
H4-1 - 6 lions lying on the rocks in the distance on the opposite side of the river. Just missed leopard on S79 detour.
H4-2 - White rhino crossing the road.
S82 - White rhino with calf in the road just before gate closing.
From Lower Sabie restaurant – couple of hyenas in the river bed.
Wed 2nd :
H4-1 – lioness and cub lying down, quite difficult to see, but then they got up and we lost them through the bush, until the mother only appeared in front of us and crossed over towards the river.
H4-2 – Large elephant herd with babies right next to the road and very relaxed, very rewarding ellie sighting.
Hippo pools – not a hippo in sight, but good to see the forum binocs still being put to good use.
Gezantfobi – lots of general game coming down to drink.
Crocodile Bridge – just before leaving the park, 2 white rhinos in the open next to the road to wish us bon voyage.