Morning to all, time to continue ….. April 20th
All the ‘must not forget this’ packed for the day and we’re ready to go. Left camp 10 minutes after the gates had opened and decided to take the H4-2 to Lower Sabie. p@m had send a sms the day before we arrived and told us to be on the look out for wild dogs that had been seen regularly in the vicinity of the H5 turn off. “You never know, maybe we’re lucky “. Yeah, yeah … I know – right place, right time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say it every day!
I love the smell of the bush, the sun glistening on dew drops. Kruger is not just about the excitement of seeing a kill, the big five or the wild dogs I’m so eager to see. The beauty of nature, the awesome interaction between things big and small can be easily overlooked.
Impala, the occasional zebra, a few wildebeest and a lone vulture are the first on our day’s sighting list.
“There!!” But as we got closer, my wild dog turned out to be a hyena in a hurry to get to only he knows where.
Unfortunately, not a dog in sight! We did see an elephant and 2 Rhinos, but not close enough to take pictures. Closer to LS, a herd of elephants down at the river and a troop of baboons basking in the morning sun …
Sunset is always a good place to stop for breakfast or lunch. The hippos were very active with a lot of splashing and snorting going on. The usually loud and very busy Egyptian Geese were nowhere to be seen. A Saddlebilled Stork was taking a morning nap, while a couple of Yellowbilled Storks were ‘fishing’ for their own breakfast in the algae green water at the edge of the dam.
“Look back,” SO’s voice very calm, but I know that tone … and he knows me. I nearly choked on my breakfast! The whole back window was filled with elephant!!! He was literally inches from the car! I have NEVER been that close to an elephant!
That explains SO’s tone of voice …. I am petrified of elephants!!! I only want to see them at a distance – across a river, hundreds of meters into the bush and better still, facing away from me. What on earth am I doing in Kruger then? “Face your fears,” they say … I’m working on it.
These pics were taken when he was already well on his way
I know half the world must have seen this photo by now, sorry WTM if you have to see it yet again … it gives me cold shivers, but also vindicates my fear.
We took the S28 back to camp, stopping at Nthandanyathi hide. During our last visit in Oct 07 we could not even enter the hide – it stank too much! In the meantime they have started fitting screens that can be opened for viewing and taking pics . The job is not finished yet, but already it’s making a difference. A screen door at the entrance prevents the culprits from entering and leaving their ‘parcels’.
A lot of hippos in the pool, a bit overcrowded after Nhlanganzwani dam were breached. Black Crakes were trotting on bent reeds searching for food … and whatever could be found on a hippo’s back.
It was really hot, temperature of 30 degrees at 10:00 in the morning. Despite the heat, there were a lot of game on the S28. Large herds of zebras and impalas. Warthog, baboons, 4 Rhinos and an ostrich were also added to the sighting list for the day.
12:45 and we’re back in camp. Not too many birds around, even the vervet monkeys were too lazy to bother us. We had lunch and watched the warthogs grazing inside the fence. I wondered if they had applied for permits to enter?
We spend a few hours in camp before taking a short afternoon drive. The S28 was busy, a lot of traffic but very few animals. A storm was brewing … heavy clouds moved in, driven by a strong wind accompanied by thunder and lightning. It was time to call it a day.....