Gecko #81 goes to Kruger – Skukuza to Lower Sabi and back

Sunday 17 November 2019

The day started with the temperature being in the low twenties as the skies were overcast.   We left camp at 6:30 after enjoying an early morning cup of coffee and planned to have breakfast at Tshokwane Picnic Site.

The first excitement was on the H4-1 when we saw a row of cars stopped ahead and their occupants looking left.   Oops – a few hyaenas came loping onto the road.   We counted seven in all and followed them as they turned onto the S76. When they disappeared into the bush we continued on our way.

IMG_3445 Hyaena 2019-11-17 6-48-44 AMIMG_3446 Hyaena 2019-11-17 6-48-51 AMIMG_3465

P1180406 Gang of hyaenas Earl 2019-11-17 7-00-12 AMP1180418 hyaena 2019-11-17 7-02-49 AM

Our route took us next to the river with lots of little crescent turnoffs and on one of these, we spotted a blue-eared starling with a feather in his or her mouth.  He/she was obviously lining the nest.

IMG_3478 Greater Blue Eared Starling with feather 2019-11-17 7-10-56 AM 2019-11-17 7-10-56 AM

Later we came across an interesting interaction with two Jacobin Cuckoos

IMG_3485 Jacobin Cuckoo Pied Morph 2019-11-17 7-25-46 AMIMG_3492 Jacobin Cuckoos 2019-11-17 7-26-07 AMIMG_3493 Jacobin Cuckoos 2019-11-17 7-26-13 AM

Another interesting bird was a white-browed scrub-robin.  Thanks to De Wet’s Wild for correctly identifying him for me.

IMG_3501 African Pipit 2019-11-17 7-30-08 AM

Also please help me with this little chap.

De Wet’s Wild thinks Nedicky

My favourite animal has to be the giraffe!  They are so elegant and graceful and always elicit a thrill when I see them on the African landscape

How many giraffes do you see?
Baby – you are gorgeous

At breakfast time we stopped at Tshokwane a really lovely picnic site in Kruger.   The restaurant is a boma created around a huge tree.

IMG_3542 Tshokwane 2019-11-17 9-16-04 AM
Tshokwane Boma
IMG_3545 Tshokwane 2019-11-17 9-17-38 AM.JPG
The front entrance
The picnic area
All the picnic sites provide a wash-up area

You can, if you wish, cater for yourself at the picnic area but we usually buy breakfast as you can get something to eat for a really good price and the coffee is excellent.


Don’t expect silver cutlery and porcelain crockery but the food is excellent.

After breakfast, we continued our tour stopping to look at various interesting creatures including this elephant.


Around midday, we stopped to stretch our legs and get an ice cream at Lower Sabi Camp.  After that, we spent a few minutes observing life at Sunset Dam.

IMG_3604 white-fronted lapwing 2019-11-17 11-34-56 AM
White-fronted lapwing
IMG_3623 Black-winged Stilt Sunset Dam 2019-11-17 12-03-46 PM
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Heron getting a lift on the back of a hippo
IMG_3635 Greenshank 2019-11-17 12-09-28 PM
IMG_3637 yellow-billed stork 2019-11-17 12-09-44 PM
Yell0w-billed stork sitting on his haunches
African Jacana
Black-winged Stilt
Spreading his wings

The temperatures rose to 35 degrees C today so we did not expect to see too much on our return to Skukuza.

This baboon looked so human surveying the terrain

Our most exciting spot of the day was these lazy lions.  As I mentioned, it was hot so they chose a nice shady spot to spend the day doing what lions do best – sleep!


There were other creatures out and about but mostly near the river.

A handsome male kudu
This one needed a snooze
Just love this male Waterbuck
Female Nyala

The Earl took some lovely bird photographs

P1180453 Lesser-striped swallow juvenile 2019-11-17 1-53-43 PM
Violet-backed starting female (Thanks to De Wets Wild for the ID)
P1180438 white-backed vulture Earl 2019-11-17 1-21-48 PM
White-backed Vulture

It was quite late when we finally returned to camp and we were hot and tired.  The Earl did not feel like doing a braai so suggested we go to the Skukuza Cattle Baron for dinner.  This was a real treat as the Cattle Baron is expensive but awesome.   Wonderful gourmet food is on offer and the service is superb.  One doesn’t expect to have fine dining in the bush but in colonial times they took their crystal, silver and fine china on safari and had their meals served on a table covered in a white table cloth, so why not now?

We both had chateaubriand served with mash potato, salad and vegetables.

IMG_3752 Dinner at Skukuza Cattle Barron 2019-11-17 6-23-53 PM
Getting ready to flambe the steaks
IMG_3757 Dinner at Cattle Baron Skukuza 2019-11-17 6-24-18 PM
The flame is there
IMG_3759 Cattle Baron Skukuza 2019-11-17 6-32-40 PM
Beautiful setting – wonderful meal

It was a lovely end to an awesome day.


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.

5 thoughts on “Gecko #81 goes to Kruger – Skukuza to Lower Sabi and back

  1. What a wonderful day out exploring Kruger, Helen! The Skukuza-Tshokwane-Lower Sabie triangle always delivers!

    If I may help with some of the bird ID’s:
    The one you’ve captioned as an African Pipit is a White-browed Scrub Robin, one of the Cisticolas below it (I’d guess Neddicky) and the one marked as an immature Lesser Striped Swallow is in fact a female Violet-backed Starling


    1. Thank you so much Marilize – That Violet-backed starling really foxed both Earl and me yet we’ve identified it correctly in the past! Must be getting old. Thanks for your help with the others. I really did not know what they were!


  2. Wow u sure eat grand and what lovely restaurants u find. The bird life looked awesome. Your eyes are good as u spot so much. Take care and enjoy more.

    On Mon, 18 Nov 2019, 8:18 PM Adventuring into Retirement, wrote:

    > puppy1952 posted: “Sunday 17 November 2019 The day started with the > temperature being in the low twenties as the skies were overcast. We left > camp at 6:30 after enjoying an early morning cup of coffee and planned to > have breakfast at Tshokwane Picnic Site. The first exc” >


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