Gecko goes to Kruger – Berg en Dal to Skukuza

16 November 2019

This morning we packed up and were ready to move to Skukuza by 6:15 am.  Because we were towing we stuck to the tar road.  Berg en Dal to Skukuza is about 67 km.

We had some interesting sightings before arriving at Skukuza at around nine.

IMG_3329
Klipspringer in the middle of the road.  There were rocky koppies on either side of the road so they were probably crossing when they stopped to investigate who we were.
IMG_3349 Lilac-breasted roller 2019-11-16 8-44-55 AM
Lilac-breasted roller – iconic in the park

At Kwagga Pan we found a pair of knob-billed ducks

IMG_3331 Male knob-billed duck 2019-11-16 8-15-49 AM
Only the male has the knob
IMG_3339 female knob-billed duck 2019-11-16 8-17-09 AM
The female has freckles instead
IMG_3344 Male Knob-billed duck look at me 2019-11-16 8-17-56 AM
Aren’t I a handsome chap!

 

We found a suitable campsite at Skukuza and then the Earl cooked us a delicious breakfast.

At 2 pm we left for our afternoon drive.  The temperatures today got up to 35 degrees C and the skies were clear.

The red-chested cuckoo or Piet-my-vrou is a very vocal bird.  You hear him all the time but spotting him is next to impossible as he hides in the foliage of the trees.   So when Earl said, “I can see the Piet-my-vrou”  I trained my binoculars into the tree and saw this.

IMG_3361 brown-hooded kingfisher 2019-11-16 2-30-15 PM

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

“It’s a kingfisher!” I said, “not a cuckoo!”

“This is not a kingfisher – it has a red chest and a cuckoo shape!” he insisted and then took this photograph.

P1180401 red-chested cuckoo 2019-11-16 2-42-23 PM
Piet-my-vrou!

 

Indeed, it was a red-chested cuckoo!

(Cousin Wayne – Please note – It’s not a kingfisher!) Sorry, dear readers, private joke!

Our drive was lovely as it took us alongside the Sabi river and had little semi-circular turnoffs from the road so you got good views of the river and the bank.

IMG_3368 Great Egret 2019-11-16 2-46-21 PM
Great Egret
IMG_3379 Waterbuck 2019-11-16 2-56-21 PM
Waterbuck enjoying the water
IMG_3381
Naughty Monkeys
IMG_3383 Little bee-eater 2019-11-16 3-12-45 PM
Little Bee-eaters
IMG_3386
One flew away
IMG_3394 White-fronted bee-eater 2019-11-16 3-19-55 PM
White-fronted bee-eater
IMG_3398 water thick-knee 2019-11-16 3-23-36 PM
Water thick-knee
IMG_3404 Egyptian Geese 2019-11-16 3-24-27 PM
Egyptian Geese
IMG_3415
Female Bushbuck
IMG_3435 Pird kingfisher 2019-11-16 4-34-04 PM
Look right
IMG_3436
Look left – Pied kingfisher

Near the end of our drive, we crossed a bridge over the river bed and scanned for animals that might be grazing or crossing to the other side.   As we drove along slowly I heard a crunching sound and leaned closer to the window to look down.  I got the fright of my life when just inches below the window was this guy!

IMG_3441
Now you’ve disturbed my meal!
P1180405
Always lovely to see my favourite – giraffe
P1180395
Lovely curly horns

 

To end our trip we went to Lake Panic which is usually a fabulous place to watch birds.   However, being the weekend, it was full of tourists.   It was hot and we did not relish fighting for a place to sit in the hide so we left and promised ourselves we would return on Monday.

We enjoyed a lovely braai of pork chops, sweet potato and gems as well as the compulsory Greek salad and were asleep before 8 pm!

 

 

 

 

 

Published by puppy1952

I am making the most of the South African Lifestyle and hope with my blog to share some of the adventures my husband and I are having in our retirement. We live at the Southern Tip of Africa in the small coastal town of Struisbaai. Earl and I have a Gecko off-road caravan and we travel around South Africa frequently. We are bird and wild life enthusiasts so are often in game reserves.

4 thoughts on “Gecko goes to Kruger – Berg en Dal to Skukuza

  1. I’m glad to see that the Comb Ducks / Knob-billed Ducks have arrived in Kruger – I am hoping for some good photos of them when we spend the summer at Satara.

    One bonus of Skukuza being so busy is that the animals and birds are so used to humans that getting a good photo isn’t as tricky as in many other places – the Piet-my-Vrou being an excellent case in point!

    Like

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