It is day 7, 19 Dec’12, and leaving LS for Satara early morning via H10, turning off onto S29 Mlondozi and whilst still half asleep with concentration levels extremely low, we were all suddenly awaken by an appearance from out of the bush
- right in front of us and walking straight at us. It was a rather weary looking lion seemed to have come off second best or should we speculate about how the other one might be looking
. He walked unperturbed by our presence past us (this time with windows closed
), crossed the road at the back and disappeared as quickly as he had appeared, into the bush again. Wow, that was an interesting sighting with all now wide awake in the car and adrenalin pumping. This was our 7th lion sighting in as many days in KNP.
The road towards Mlondozi picnic site was quiet with a few giraffe sightings here and there. At the picnic site we rented a gas braai and enjoyed some breakfast whilst overlooking the Mlondozi dam with its extremely low water level and only waterbuck that came down to drink.
Tummies filled, heading north onto H10, went past Nkumbe viewpoint and visited Orpen dam where it was also quiet. On a sad note - I might have lost my 15-55mm lens at this spot (or was it now Ratelpan hide later the day?). For the life of me, I just could not remember, but after unsuccessful enquires at a few camps, I was not confident finding it which limited my opportunity for wide angle shots in close range during our trip. Nevertheless, I managed to have it replaced back in Cape Town. Back onto the H10 a few birds were spotted amongst these two Whalberg eagles in an Apple leaf tree (I hope I have id-ed it correctly). Besides the animals, the trees are also amazing.
Our first sighting of this Southern-carmine bee-eater
Stopping at Kumana dam, this Jacana was nonchalantly riding on the hippo, then on his head and them on the body - enjoying a free hippo ride
Then we headed east onto the S125 direction S36, stopping at Muzandzeni picnic spot – a road we have never travelled before, but also with some lion sightings on the camps sighting boards and being hopeful to see sable, we decided to explore the area. The road was interesting to drive with here and there some general game. In reaching the H7 tar road, we were on our way to Satara camp and just in the middle of the S12 and S40 turn-offs, we hit a major road block – giraffe kill with mega lion pride in the bushes. The visiability was not good and someone commented that they have counted about 30 lions since early that morning. (lion sighting no 2 for the day and 8 so far)
Stopping at Ntsemani dam, we spotted 2 hippos with a baby on land. Back home, we got a bbm latest sightings report that there is a dead hippo baby at the dam – not sure if it is the same one, but still tragic news though..
It was a really hot day as we settled in at Satara, but first visited friends from Nelspruit that were already in the camp spending catching on news until it was time we could book into the GC6BD Guest cottage. At the reception on the side of the building we saw these bats hanging out...in the trees that is...
When walking around in the camp, one must always be on the look-out for these guys as they sometimes are camourflarged with the dry grass patches.
After resting a bit, we did an afternoon drive with some unique bird sightings worth sharing. Coming up next…