Day 5, Tuesday 6th Oct., Olifants – Satara cont.
After checking in at Satara and unpacking we worked out our route for the afternoon - the S126 along the Sweni, the S36 and back along the H7. We saw absolutely nothing
until we got to Nsemani where 3 ellies where having fun in the water. These pics are heavily cropped so not great quality.
That was it for our afternoon sightings. My dad remarked that the sightings board at Satara looked like it had measles, but we couldn’t find one measly little lion!!!!
Back at camp my dad got a fire started even though we were having a quick plate of pasta for dinner as the Brat and I were going on the night drive. This was when I deleted all my pics!!
The Brat and I got dressed as warmly as we could, and made our way to the restaurant. We got the two seats behind the door and found two blankets. We promptly grabbed one and wrapped it around our legs. Our driver’s name was Tavern, which he said was very ironic as he was not a drinker!
This was our first ever night drive and we were not sure what to expect. As we drove out of camp there was a herd of buffs leaving the waterhole, then the guy behind us, with the spotlight, found an AWC in a tree right next to the road
....but it ran off very quickly! Another of many firsts on this trip.
We turned left and then right into the road with the no-entry sign. We saw hundreds of steenbokkies on the drive. Then the lady with the spotlight on the other side spotted something in a tree....a large spotted genet....yes, another first!!
The photos are terrible as most of the sightings were just that little bit too far off, but proof none the less!!
We got onto the S41 and found a herd of wildebeest, some sleeping giraffes, and a night jar. The lady with the spotlight was very good and was finding things all the time (the guy behind us wasn’t as good). She spotted something which everyone said was a porcupine, I thought it was a honey badger...it turned out to be a White tailed mongoose.
We saw another 3 AWC’s and watched one trying to catch a bird...I couldn’t believe how high it could jump!!
We got onto the S90 and saw something dash across the road....it was a civet!!!
But I couldn’t get a pic. We were soon back on the tar heading back to camp – we were nice and warm under the blanket but our faces were freezing!! The Brat spotted 2 jackals in the haphazard light of the spotter on our side, but he moved the light off them straight away – obviously he wasn’t interested in seeing them!
Another White-tailed mongoose was spotted and while we were watching it we heard lions roaring. We moved on, came round a bend and found an ellie in the road! He didn’t detain us long and melted into the bush. We were approaching camp and the Brat was upset that the drive was over and bemoaning the fact that we hadn’t seen a leopard. There was a shout from the ‘lady spotter’...can you see what it is?
Two young male lions out on the prowl only about 100 metres from the camp fence.
We watched them for a while before they disappeared into the night.
So all in all, a pretty good drive – 4 AWC’s, 2 White-tailed mongooses, a night jar, a genet, a civet, 2 jackals, an ellie and 2 lions
(but still no leopards
)!! We got back to the bungalow and the Brat excitedly told my dad all about it. He is now hooked and informed me that we will be doing a lot more night drives in future..... I enjoyed it but I’m not sure if I would rush to do it again. Call me a bore, but I much prefer to be in my own vehicle without a whole bunch of strangers! AND I love sitting around the fire at night chatting and listening to the quietness!!