Day 3 ……….
Day trip to Lower Sabie
For day three’s trip, we decided on a day trip to Lower Sabie, rather than wait until the busier weekend.
We were up at 04H30, showered
, got ready, had coffee and were out the gates not long after 05H30. While I was in the ablutions I overheard two guys taking
about Lions just up the road, “around the bend” the one said. I was planning on taking the Napi road up to Skukuza, but though I should just check out “around the bend” first in case their claims were legit. I don’t know who their source was seeing that the gate was still closed. Instead of Lions we saw the Pretoriuskop Old Age Buffalo herd, this guy only had one horn, c’mon mites ….. he needs more votes
We made a u-turn, proceeded a few hundred meters and then turned left and carried on along the H1-1. As mentioned before this area is extensively burnt. We saw a lone elephant not far along; I think he could be a regular as we spotted him quite often near the camp. After an empty Shitlave Dam, (sightings that is, not water) we headed back up to the H1-1 and saw a White Rhino along the way
I turned off at the S11 and went via the Napi boulders (We saw lions here in March). It has always been interesting to me to see the difference in vegetation at various times of the year. With nothing happening along that road we turned back onto the Napi road and headed for the Transport Dam. These two Fish Eagles wer sitting in a tree on the far bank of the dam. Quite a few sightings of Fish Eagle this trip, I must say.
These regular Waterbuck were also mulling about
Not far along after the Transport Dam we came across a traffic jam and were advised by a passer by that we just missed a Leopard crossing the road. He suggested that if we hung around a bit we might spot him lifting his head on occasion in the grass. Well ….. we sat around like customers at Home Affairs, not knowing where or when or if any action would occur. Enough of that, with the temperature rising and the fact that we had absolutely no idea where this leopard could have been, we decided to head on.
We slowed down past the boulders just before the H3 turnoff as they were a regular home to Klipspringer that we had seen there on trips before. The rocks were empty. Just after the H3 turn off, on the bend there are another set of rocks to the right and we were pleased to see that the Klipspringers had merely moved house.
A few km’s outside Skukuza, we came across two Hyenas standing on either side of the road like two patrolmen. Once we and another car had stopped, they decided to make themselves scarce and headed off into the bush.
We stopped at Skukuza for a leg stretch, pit stop and headed on again. Turning on to the H4-1 (we first back tracked to the first river loop) I was as happy to say the least, now I was home
On the LS road, a few Buffalo with an Elephant in background.
We got to the H12 high level bridge and saw an Elephant on the right hand side and two White Rhino in the far distance on the left. I carried on over the bridge and made a u-turn at the entrance to the Salitje road, a decision I would soon regret
As we were crossing back over, SO spotter a car with EC number plates and a YR
It was Bartman, Gillykins and kids. My SO was starting to think that this YR thing was not working because we were always the only car with one on, but now we had finally met other Forumites.
Firstly, it was great meeting you guys
, and secondly THANK YOU!!!
You had broken our cat drought. If we had not stopped to chat, we would have missed the two lions approaching from behind, nice spot Bartman
Now, ... this is why I regretted turning around at the Salitje road entrance. I was now facing the wrong way. Bartman and family headed off towards the lions and I had to reverse back across half the length of the bridge until I could turn around again. When we arrived, the lions (who had a procession of cars behind them) decided to move off the road and into the bush but at least we were fortunate enough to get a few seconds of sighting them reasonably close.
And Male Lion following lioness
After turning around we headed back across the bridge and had to wait patiently for the many cars to finish watching the Rhino’s.
We stopped at Nkuhlu for a leg stretch and an ice cream. I really wanted to try the famous Buff Pasties but they were a bit over baked and dried out for the R25 price tag
Under the lapa there were a few tables that were nicely laid out. One patron had already arrived and was waiting patiently for the rest of his group to join him for lunch.
These Impala lily’s caught my eye
We headed on towards Lower Sabie. By now the temperature was beginning to climb and most of the animals were standing around in little groups under whatever shade they could find. At one point I just had to reverse back to have a look at a small herd of elephants all huddled together under a smallish tree. It looked quite amusing I must say, unfortunately no pic as it was in amongst a few trees and bushes.
We stopped for a few monkeys on the side of the road and this one in particular though he would be getting a handout and was rather disappointed at not getting anything.
When we arrived at Lower Sabie it was hot to say the least.
We headed down to the deck for lunch; luckily it was not too busy.
This guy was also feeling the heat and was making his way down to the deck.
From the deck we could see these Hippo’s out of the water.
Not long after that this herd of Elephants came down for a drink
We had lunch, did some shopping for ice-cream and went for a quick walk around the camp. It had to be quick, we were melting. I was really not impressed at the sight of many many empty campsites after I had struggled in vain to get accommodation there.
We decided to get back on the road as we had a bit of a journey ahead of us back to the Swartland (black landscape). At Sunset dam we stopped to survey the area and I was getting excited by the possibility of showing SO how a giraffe drinks water, when a crocodile suddenly snapped at some of the birds on the bank scaring this poor guy off to go and hide behind the bushes.
As we headed off, I could not help stopping to get a picture of what the temperature was outside, and it still went up another two degrees as we were driving.
40 deg at 13H10 on the way back to P’Kop
Another Fish Eagle
This huge herd of buffalo’s had us waiting no less than twenty minutes for them to cross. We switched off and waited it out as there were hundreds of them, peeling out of the bush.
Wouldn’t this impatient cash van driver start revving his engine at the cars behind us for them to get out of his was. They all made way for him and he proceeded to rev his way through the Buffalos, luckily though the procession was coming to an end and most were across already.
This poor Baboon really looked like he was taking strain in the heat
The road was quiet to say the least until we saw this Saddle billed stork at Shitlave dam
We eventually arrived back at camp just past 16H00 and decided to spend the remainder of the afternoon at the pool cooling off. After a refreshing swim, we lay on the grass under a tree and baked in the hot wind, you know the kind you get when you open the oven door. We left the LO’s at the pool for the last few minutes of swimming while SO and I went back to start the fire and prepare supper. When the LO’s arrived back from their movie, we ate supper, had our evening walk and headed off to slumberland. It was hot and the fan really came in handy. Day 4 to follow ………..