Sixth day: Satara - Satara (17/11)
Overcast this morning. I have to say: it's a relief after the last couple of hot days. And the park is still in need of more rain allthough there is much more greenery here than up north.
The plan is to have breakfast at N'wanetsi but the question is: which road will take us there? The much praised H6 or the "hated" S100. It will be the H6 but this morning it dissapoints: wildebeest and 1 giraffe is the only thing we see notwithstanding an average speed of no more than 15 Kph, stopping very often and using the binocs almost continuously.
Because of no sightings we arrive too early for breakfast at N'wanetsi but we still take in the sight. Amazing once more. This is actually an area we visited before but we didn't quite notice the beauty of it at that time. Was it because we were rushing it too much, were we looking too much for the big 5? I don't know but it is a fact that the way we do it this time is so much more rewarding. This is also the moment we decide not to leave the park tomorrow but add an extra day in the south. We're just enjoying ourselves too much.
We drive north along S41 and there is our first predator sighting of the day: two hyena crossing. A little later we cross the mavumbye river where we see hippo and a malachite kingfisher. Fantastic little bird. We go till Gudzani waterhole. No other cars: usually that means nothing to see. But rather well hidden behind the water are, yipee, 4 lions!
Time to have breakfast! By the time we have finished eating the lions are almost completely out of sight. We decide to leave but when we pass the other car that's at the waterhole the woman in the car starts talking to me. It's JAZIL! This is the kind of people I love to meet in the park: very at ease and totally in love with the park. (red in her report a YR "whizzed" past her: the true version is I stood practically still when I passed her
and she didn't have a YR
but I have to say it was still very nice to meet her
We're turning back south now. Still on the S41 just before turning into the famous S100: another pair of hyena crossing. Lovely!
It's time for the "mother of all roads" now. We see the usual: impie, zebra and wildebeest. Next to that a huge troop of baboon with a lot of action and...an impala calf that is still shaking on its legs and is being licked by the mother. We probably just missed the birth. It's a shame there are no predators nearby
. So it's not that the S100 was worthless but it didn't really lived up to its reputation according to some addicts. (no thanks WTM).
We go south now along the H1-3 and we see the results of the fire we witnessed the day before. Sad to see know but a bit of rain and it will be refreshingly green again.
At Nkaya pan we see the tiniest warthog baby's we have ever seen. A little further we see a martial eagle on the ground feeding. Fantastic sight but a little bit too far for good pics. Further on this road there is zebra, wildebeest, impie and elephant.
After a quick lunch at Tshokwane We take the S34. From now SO is starting to write exactly what kind of mammals we see on each road. 7 species on this stretch: impala, nyala (this far south: yes sir or mum), buffalo, steenbok, elephant, giraffe and kudu.
The S36 however is the winner of this afternoon. No less than 13 different mammal species on this road: impala, waterbuck, hippo at the dams, steenbok, warthog, elephant, kudu, baboon, giraffe, zebra, buffalo,.....white rhino mother and calf
and finally a scrub hare (probably convince we plan to make patÃƒÂ© from him since he runs away rather fast).
So no cats but what a great road. We can also see the sun slowly go down over the klein drakensberg in the east. The most spectacular sight on that road comes from a bird. We see a redcrested korhaan do something that resembles a rollercoaster movement. When he's back on the ground you would expect him to come and ask us for some money for the stunt delivered. Extremely funny to watch
The H7 shows waterbuck, hippo, wildebeest, impie, zebra and a herd of 20+ giraffes with 6 baby's.
Close to the camp there is a hyena den and we see a part of the group on the street including little pups. Predatorwise it has been a good day and for the second time we still have a nightdrive ahead.
This time though the nightdrive isn't what it's supposed to be. The gameviewing doesn't disappoint with a few usual species but also 1 blackbacked jackal, 1 African wildcat and a troop of lions (10+) on the road with cute cubs. It's the people in the truck that act a bit irritating. A group of young twentiers act the whole time as if they are sort of in a ghost ride somewhere in Disney and two women in the back do a really bad job in handling the lights. The whole drive it goes like this. "Stop!" driver stops. "A littke back!" driver goes back. Than without actually looking for something..."you can go on, it was probably some kind of monkey!" both were probably convinced a monkey is strictly nocturnal. The driver than, instead of urging the people with the spotlight to look better simply continues. On top of that his cellphone is ringing all the time and allthough his explanation is worthwile when he does stop he can't survive (by far) the competition with Ian from Letaba. His name was Chester.
Back in camp we only remeber the good things of that day (2 lion sightings, 4 hyena sightings, 1 rhino sighting and loads of other things) accompanied by amarula and a good merlot.