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.

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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

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Naughty Monkeys

IMG_3383 Little bee-eater 2019-11-16 3-12-45 PM

Little Bee-eaters

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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

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Female Bushbuck

IMG_3435 Pird kingfisher 2019-11-16 4-34-04 PM

Look right

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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!

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Now you’ve disturbed my meal!

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Always lovely to see my favourite – giraffe

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

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

  1. de Wets Wild

    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!

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    Reply

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