Day 3 – A busy Saturday morning
We wake up at 3 and leave for the gate at 4:30. I must say, having a cup of coffee with a rusk sitting on the stoep in the morning is quite heavenly. Everything is quiet, the day is full of promise and expectation.
During the night I heard a noise outside in the kitchen, but when I looked to see what it was I didn’t see anything. I thought it might be a nocturnal scavenger at the dustbin but no. This morning when I make the coffee I find a frog on the eyelevel shelf where the coffeepowder and cups are.
How on earth it got into the cupboard I will never know, but I suspect that this was the noise I heard. Why, is another good question.
We leave the gates with it being still dark out. You are reduced to seeing eyes glow in the headlights of the vehicle and whatever is in the road as you pass.
On the tar road to Numbi we have a great sighting of three spotted hyena ambling on the road, investigating strange smells, checking out possible targets etc. Unfortunately, with them being on the move and the light being so low, my photos are reduced to vague beige blurry blobs.
On the S1 we stop at the hamerkop’s house, but it’s too early for him, so I take a general photo instead.
The sunrise, a bit later, is beautiful.
Today we find loads of elephants, and the francolins are back as well. I wonder where they all went yesterday!
We also stop to admire this confiding African grey hornbill.
Four zebra runs along the road, playfully affectionate with each other and finally stop for a portrait photosession. Such personality!
The road to Skukuza is getting busier by the minute (this being a Saturday morning). When we get there we have breakfast in the restaurant, which although a bit pricey is a real treat. The waiter is friendly, the service is good, and the food is delicious.
It is in fact, my second favourite KNP restaurant breakfast of all time. It is still beaten by an unforgettable breakfast I had at Olifants years back and comparing the two, the view at Olifants is unbeatable.
After breakfast we head on down to Afsaal, via a detour onto the S114 due to the causeway at Delaporte being damaged. The traffic on the road is disconcerting and SO is getting edgy because everybody is driving fast, too fast.
On the S114 we are stopped by a man and his wife coming from the other direction, asking whether we’ve seen anything on the road. He’s looking for lions and have spotted fresh tracks besides the road. He also tells us that there were lots of lion activity on this road the day before.
We don’t find lions, but we do spot some blue wildebeest.
A big snake sails across the road, but we only catch the tail section and can’t ID it.
We do spot his enemy, a brown snake eagle keeping out a watchful eye for breakfast.
That snake had better watch out! This eagle looks like he means business.
We also magage to see two steenbuck, but unfortunately they do not hang around for a photograph.
At Afsaal SO has a scone and I drink a Slushy, it being very hot already. The place is packed!
We turn around and drive back towards Skukuza, with the number of cars speeding on the road only increasing.
At one stage we were caught up in a speeding convoy of cars near Skukuza, with the other cars driving so fast and close that we were unable to stop at a giraffe sighting, because the other cars behind us would have tailended us. SO is getting really cross and tells me to mention this on the forum. We can’t figure out what they are doing? Why come to KNP at all if you are only going to race from one place to another. And how much chance do you have to spot game?
In our time there, we don’t unfortunately spot any speed traps or law enforcement sorting this out.
At one point on the road between Skukuza and Paul Kruger gate, a Jeep Jockey (the same company Martie had a run in with if memory serves correctly), speeds past a bunch of cars (all doing 50 kmph), driving much faster than this and overtaking on a blind incline with no idea of the traffic that might be coming from the front. Very dangerous driving and something you do not expect to encounter in Kruger. In Johannesburg, yes. Shame on you!
Back on the S1 things calm down a bit and we spot four warthogs in the road. Unfortunately another motorist spoils the sighting soon thereafter because he believes he’s spotted something bigger and greyer in the bush and scatter the warthogs in order to get to the other sighting, which I’ll not mention.
We take the S8 (seeing that our choice of roads are so limited, we want to explore each and every one) and very cautiously have to slowly maneuver to get past this lone elephant, standing next to the road, flapping its ears when anyone gets too close.
Back at camp we make a fire and I bake a Potbread on the coals. I download some photos onto my laptop and update my journal. A very relaxing afternoon following a bit of a harrowing morning.
We tuck into the bread, dripping with butter and jam. The guineafowl REALLY want a piece of the Potbread action, but we can’t.
Good news is: Our neighbours with the kettie have left, and all is peaceful.
This afternoon we’ll drive the Napi road again. Some exciting sightings ahead!