Live from Skukuza, it's the report for day 2, 28 April 2006.
We have just got back from the Selati restaurant at Skukuza. As always the food is great, but we have one issue that we'd like to raise here before we get on with the trip report and that is smoking in restaurants. In general restaurants in South Africa are indoors, and smoking is not allowed in indoor restaurants (except in a fully ventillated and separate smoking area). Selati is primarily open air since it is under the awning of an old train station, so naturally smoking is allowed.
Personally we believe that smoking should not be allowed in any food consumption area, but that's not the law. We do think, however, that Selati should at the very least have a non-smoking section that is far away from the smokers. Perhaps we have been shielded for the last few years, and perhaps we had a particularly bad bunch next to us tonight (1 chain smoker at one table, and a table of 4 all lighting up in turn so that there was never a time when at no-one was smokng), but it was terrible. To give Selati credit, they did offer to re-seat us, but there was no guarantee that the same thing wouldn't happen there too...
Ok, rant finished! On to the trip report.
Firstly we want to ask, where are all the zebra? Has someone relocated them to another park?? :-) Seriously, not one zebra yet, which is freakish! But while on the topic, where are ALL the animals? We've had sporadic sightings of many different animals, but these are one offs, and not particularly good sightings, and there are extremely long periods of time between any sightings, even impala.
Morning drive (06:00 - 11:15)
H4-2: Black-backed Jackal (Misty), Vulture sunning wings, lots of Grey Louries and Burchell's Coucals around, Goliath Heron, Guineafowl with big groups of babies, Egyptian Geese, Hamerkop building nest at Sunset Dam, Hippo
H4-1: Terrapin crossing road, Buffalo (far, far away), female Bushbuck, lots of Impala, Bateleur, Vultures and Eagles around. Single Elephant
Afternoon drive (14:45 - 18:00)
H1-1 / H3: Impala, single Ellie, Dwarf Mongoose.
S113: single Ground Hornbill
S114: Waterbuck (in the distance), single Giraffe, LOTS of Impala.
H1-1 / H4-1 / H1-2 and back: Were told that there was Wild Dog but we didn't see any. Waterbuck with young. Lots of Guineafowl. Finally by the Skukuza intersection, we found the one Wild Dog, and about a hundred cars (bad sighting, saw it for about 2 minutes.)
S42: found another traffic jam which marked the spot of a Spotted Hyena den, but was far too dark for any photos.
It sounds like a good day, but we don't think it qualifies over all. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.
Very hot in the afternoon after a cold and misty morning start.
We saw another yellow ribbon but we were parked at Sunset Dam, and they were driving past. We don't think they saw us there. We were also 'beeped' by a red VW Kombi, not sure why, perhaps they saw the yellow ribbon. Let us know if this was you. :-)
In general people are behaving well in the park this time. We only saw one person get out, very few people sticking out of their cars, and one litterer (a tissue). People were pretty responsive to waves in the morning, but very few waved back in the afternoon. Perhaps they were having bad sightings too!
The picture of the tent is an example of where we are staying tonight. There seems to be very little on the Sanparks site about these tents.
Tomorrow we heading towards Lower Sabie where we will be staying.
Craig & Caroline