Wednesday, 10.02.2010 – Biyamiti – Skukuza
With very heavy hearts we got up as this means to say good-bye to our beloved Biyamiti. Although we stayed there this year only for the second time our love for this camp grow immensely the longer we stay there, not only because of the camp itself but also because of the normally quiet roads around. Whilst driving to the gate a bushbuck mom with her youngster was blocking the small road, however, disappeared soon in the thick grass. So whenever staying at Biyamiti watch out for them.
We decided to drive the S25 and then “our” magic road, the S28 for a final time although we heard very heavy and persistent – how we missed that
- lion roaring from the other direction we headed forward into the mentioned direction.
It was one of the quiet mornings with neither less traffic and nor even animals. We were already on the S25 before the sun came up until that it was once more very overcast and humid.
Only a couple of birds such as an unidentified raptor, open-billed storks in a tree as well as a Burchell’s coucal enjoyed with us their attendance.
However, another familiar face appeared on his bicycle on the way to work, it was Daniel. It was great to say again “hello” and chat again a bit to one of those famous Kruger “relicts”.
Soon we reached again Croc Bridge camp for a short loo break but before we even could enter we had been stopped by a police stop-and-search operation. We left again relatively soon the camp and were on our way again. Another two “red rhinos” could be admired
and a huge herd of wildebeests of which one was in the middle of its breakfast whilst we came with the big lens.
We turned into our beloved S28 again and as you can well imagine we drove this road extremely slow to soak in all the edges of the road, the smells of each bush, grass and flowers and as well as the animal smells – This was then also my magical Kruger moment for this day to be able to drive one final time this amazing road. I am quite sure that meanwhile I knew this road by heart but I would never get bored to drive this road again and again. As also during our couple of Kruger visits although always visiting in February the landscape can differ immensely and that is also one of those thrilling secrets of which we already think shortly before leaving “How will look that road this year and what will we see there. Did you remember.the rhino bull in the middle of the road or....”.
It was still cloudy and quiet, however, a lovely kudu female was the in the mood for playing hide and seek and as you can see the bush was extreme thick this year although the S28 was this year one of those less favoured rain areas.
and she cannot only play hide and seek she even knew the owl trick with the flexible head.
Meanwhile the sun came out more and more and with the sun the temperature began to rise again drastically. Nearly in the middle of our magic road we met our first yellow ribbon during this trip – Giraffe & SO
– We stopped and chatted a while although the while was far too short. As they had already reached nearly the end of their trip we stood still in the beginning of ours and therefore for us it was thrilling to hear what they already experienced. They told us about a lion sighting consisting of 3 males further down on the road, however, as still a close lion sighting was missing during our trip we had no hurry in driving forward and after saying bye-bye to them we also paid a visit to the Nhlanganzwani “dam” at least to the remains of this dam. Then we decided against a possible lion sighting and turned into the S137 for a final good-bye at Duke’s waterhole – the lions must have been spotted near the Ntandanyathi hide, however, we were not the mood for a race in the middle of a traffic jam.
However, also this road was quiet this morning but we never complained as we enjoyed the silence tremendously and the helmeted guineafowls running around like mad as well as a gang of muddy warthogs kept us entertained as well as the always present zebras in that area of the park for example this mom and foal were so nicely posing for us – we once more could not resist
Further down in a “dead” tree we spotted a resting lapped-faced vultures and another born poser kept Timon occupied in taking pictures.
Even a JJ stopped and allowed the truck load to take pictures and even gave some information about this bird to the people. Indeed not the beautiful bird on Earth but a member of the “Big 6” birds in Kruger and in the ecosystem a very important one. Look at the small ear!
After enough pictures and posing we stopped again on the other side of the road as a bush was full of these starlings always in the move and flying high and low.
The temperature meanwhile reached again 30 degrees and it was getting hotter and hotter. On the S130 close to a remaining mud bath two more white rhinos could be spotted. On the tar road again one elephant herd after the other appeared and a lone kudu female with a lovely posing youngster with already quite impressive ears came across.
Soon after that we made once more a short break at Lower Sabie and enjoyed with a coffee the view from the deck. A final short visit to Sunset dam took place where the usual suspects such as hippos, crocodiles, marabous, impalas could be discovered. We decided right from the beginning in driving again the S128 and then the S30 and not the tar road to Skukuza. A final crossing of the high water bridge brought us a Goliath heron although not in the best light for a picture but always an impressive bird and more hippos grunting high and low – also a sound which I desperately miss.
The drought animalwise from the morning continued the whole drive on these roads only nearly at the end of the S30 where the road is following parallel to the Sabie river with some nice view points we were able to spot animal activity, for example the club of 3 dagga boys. One of them was lying in the middle of the water on the side with nearly the head under water we already though it was dead but then he started to move his head.
If he was a cat I was confident that he would have purred. The two others were lying on the other side of this small branch of the Sabie each on his own place but anyhow together.
Also for us this was a nice shady spot under a huge tree with a nice wind blowing where we could rest a bit and have a nice snack. Whilst munching our rusks I realized a movement from the other side in a crotch – a love squirrel was just doing the same as I!
So it is always wise to not look only in one direction but also into the other. After a quite nice break with reloading our batteries we hit the road again only to stop again at the next view point as there a couple of saddle billed storks was foraging. Timon was once more delighted not only rhinos but also this bird is a favourite of him. The female just caught an insect
whereas the male was still wading and searching for a yummy bite.
For us this spot was not that lovely as the previous one as there was not a single tree and we were meanwhile again start to bake in the car. Furthermore it was very difficult to capture the storks as they were relatively far away and sometimes hidden behind the reeds in the water and sometimes up and down on a rocky area. With a final comical pose we said bye-bye
another really lovely sighting and again a member of the “Big 6”. Soon we reached the high water bridge and whilst crossing same we enjoyed the sound of the flowing water and the low grumble of elephants which were having again a nice bath in the river and even out of the twinkle of our eyes we spotted a fish eagle which just caught a nice lunch on form of a fish.
Obviously the cars on the bridge disturbed it as it was soon flying away only to rest on a nearby tree and enjoyed his yummy lunch.
Checking in a Skukuza was done always smooth and fast and we even got the requested cottage – the lion cottage, a riverside bungalow in which we already stayed two years ago – A special thanks here to Elvira Fredricks of the Skukuza reception staff who arranged this for us. Soon we moved in, made us comfortable on the veranda and let our thoughts flow together with the Sabie river. Although it was again terribly hot we took a short walk around the camp which ended in the shop and afterwards with a nice ice cream.to be continued with the cats of all cat and a pack of painted something or just follow the impalas intensive looks........