Finally we reached Sunset dam and the obligatory hippos there were again plentiful and extreme noisy.
Only from far we spotted the beautiful yellow-billed storks and some crocodiles where we stood with the car we watched a great number of wattled plovers and to our frustration no more birds could be found. Another disappointment was that with affright we realized how green the water was already and it looked much more than a pea soup than a dam and all the water birds had green bills and green legs. I think it will only be a question of time until this precious little gem might be closed.
After a short visit to Lower Sabie we headed forward again only to be stopped on the low water bridge and attracted by a large number, it must have been around 20 or more, of huge crocodiles who swam excitedly around. Furthermore it stank unbearable where we parked so we guessed that there might be trapped a rotten hippo cadaver under the bridge and that might explain also the agitation of the crocodiles as they normally do only lie around immobile.
Due to cheetah pins we noticed during our short break at Lower Sabie’s sighting board we decided to take the S29 and soon spotted another new tick for us – a buffalo weaver.
Unfortunately here the grass was so high that it was impossible to spot anything which might be smaller than a giraffe or an elephant. So we drove on and soon Timon discovered something catlike running in front of our car but still too far away. I tried to identify via binoculars what was running away from us but with the shaking car it was not 100 % clear but the shape of the animal and the black earmarks made be thought of a younger cheetah but to our dislike same disappeared after it ran quite a while in front of our car into the high grass and vanished. Although we waited a bit at the point where we thought the animal vanished but today we drove away empty-handed as not a single movement of the grass could be realized.
Needless to say that we turned into the Muntshe loop which we only discovered during our last year’s stay but fell in love immediately with the area here and enjoyed the landscape we were travelling through a bit more than the sightings as they were a bit sparse today and we only met a lone elephant bull and a Kori Bustard both too far away for pictures but the Carmine bee eaters were willing to pose.
The stroll back via the tar road was also quiet – I think it is simply the time of the day – but I spotted a family of ground hornbills close to the road and they are for sure always worth to stop for.
Last year we discovered this bird nearly daily but this year this sighting was for a long time the only one we had but gladly in the far North we got later during that trip the honour in meeting them nearly daily.
For that normally busy area in the park we met only very few cars and it was indeed an enjoyable ride with more sightings of hundreds of Carmine bee eaters
and a nice posing elephant.
Back on the causeway close to camp we allowed us enough time for the hurly-burly in the water which the crocodiles made.
Some of them had some hijackers,
others crawled closer and looked like prehistoric monsters which they definitely are
and others came so close that we nearly got scared, especially when only known to us as sunbathing and unflexible reptiles and not as these feed horny beasts with always a smile their faces – At least their big mouth is looking as if they were smiling.
Maybe not one of the most beautiful beasts on the world but for sure one of the most fascinating ones.
Meanwhile it was already getting afternoon and we simply had to carry on and after another short stop at Lower Sabie to do some shopping we enjoyed our ice cream on the deck with the awesome view.
We decided to drive back via the same roads we travelled earlier this morning but gladly without any mist as meanwhile the sun was again shining brightly and it was getting hotter and hotter and another elephant herd just came back from bathing and was blocking the road in front of us.
A brown snake eagle and a couple of amur falcons came also across but both were too far in the distance. As always warthogs and magpie shrike accompanied us further on our way back to camp but I simply had to capture this giraffe surrounded by so much beautiful green and an even beautifuller sky .
We spotted an elephant with collar
and found in the shade of a tree a group of male kudus. to be continued......