After a good nights sleep in Skukuza, Kruger National Park. We got up for an early morning game drive. Not everyone wanted to get up that early, so only 3 of us headed out.
Since everyone was tired and didn't want to get up early, I decided to drive to the S3 and take it for awhile before turning back and going to Skukuza. We saw several impala. We also saw a couple of lone cape buffalo that morning. A few birds was about all else that we saw. Quite a quiet morning.
We'd been out about 50 minutes and decided to head back to pick the rest of the group up to leave Skukuza, and head to our next place to stay, Satara. On the way back, we saw a couple beautiful giraffe.
Pictures of the cape buffalo and giraffe, as well as several of our other sightings, can be found at my site
We got back to camp, began to load the cars, only to discover our next misfortune. My car had a flat tire. At least it happened while we were in camp, and not out in the wild. We changed the tire, repaired the flat, and headed out, albeit about an hour or so later than we had anticipated.
We drove northeast out of Skukuza, stopping as we saw animals, and detouring towards any near waterholes. At one of these waterholes, we came across quite a few animals. Hippo were resting on the banks of the dam. A couple of crocodile swam in the water. In the distance, on the far edge of the dam, giraffe browsed the trees, while a few impala grazed beneath them. Again, a lone cape buffalo came to the water for a drink.
The next waterhole also proved very fruitful. It was nearly dried up, muddy from the work of the elephants. But there was just enough water left that a few animals could come for a drink. Here we saw our first zebra. As we arrived, one of the zebra stretched down to get a drink, while a couple others stood guard. The only way to get water, was to go to the very steep side of the waterhole, and climb down a little to reach the water.
We stopped for lunch at a Tshokwane. We ate on the edge of the picnic area. Monkeys played, only a few feet away, watching us for the opportunity for an easy meal. A few baboons were not far also.
As we had finished our meal, and were almost ready to head out again, the action began. One of the baboons rushed by us, heading towards a group with a cooler. It ran through the group, and raided their cooler, picking up an item, and heading back to the safety of the trees. Before we left another baboon ran straight at another person. She threw the food she was holding, the baboon picked it up and headed back.
As we continued to drive, we saw our fist elephants, though it wasn't much of a sighting. We caught glimpses of them, could hear them in the bushes, but they soon were out of sight. We took a detour to the Orpen dam, and we saw more hippo and crocodile. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs also.
We continued driving in the early afternoon towards Satara. At the next waterhole we had our first really great sighting. A lone wildebeest grazed at the far side of the waterhole. Impala, of course, were in the background. Crocodile on the banks. A lone buffalo getting a drink. We noticed that another car had stopped to look at something, just short of the waterhole. For a second, we wondered what they were looking at, but it quickly became apparent. A large herd of elephant was making its way from the north, down to the water.
They came down together, and all began to drink from the water. They finished drinking, and then headed towards us to cross the road. As we were directly in their path, I reversed to get out of their way. They crossed in front of us, and soon disappeared into the bush. We moved on, seeing several elephant, kudu, giraffe, baboons, hornbill, African fish eagle, and impala, among other things before finally reaching Satara as the gate closed at 5:30 pm. We checked in, ate dinner quickly before going on a guided night drive.
We didn’t see lots of game on the guided night drive, and unfortunately, none of the big cats yet, but we were still fortunate with what we saw. Right out of the gate, no less than 10 seconds into our drive, three hyenas ran in front of us, crossing directly in front of our vehicle. We saw a few more hyenas later in the drive. We also came across a small cat like figure, on the road ahead of us. It was in the distance...a Serval! But I only saw it for a few seconds before it disappeared in the grass. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture as it disappeared in the grass as we approached it. Next we saw an African wildcat. Again, I was unable to get a photo. It was visible, but just too far off in the darkness of the night.
We next saw a black-backed Jackal. It was far off also, but there was just enough light I was able to focus and get the picture (see link), though it really wasn't good. We headed back to camp after that. I think the rest of our group was disappointed with the night drive (partially I think, they were a bit miserable since it was so cold). But I though we’d had excellent sightings that night.
Our driver suggested we take the S100 in the morning. I had already planned on doing this, and would have done it the previous day
had we not been delayed in our arrival to Satara. Overall, we had only seen 2 of the Big 5 today, but it had still been a very good day. The next day we would drive the S100 and hope for a bit more luck on our way to Biyamiti.
Enjoy the pictures.