Gecko 81 goes to Kruger – Skukuza to Satara

19 November 2019

It was still raining when we awoke this morning.  Oh dear, it promised to be a wet pack up.   But we were lucky as there was just a spit and a spot and no wind so we managed to get everything done very quickly.

It is over 90km from Skukuza to Satara and as usual with the caravan, we stuck to the tar road.  We were off by 07:15

It was good to see a fair number of the usual gang – impala, baboons, zebra – enjoying the cooler weather.  We have been seeing the Grey Go-away-bird quite often but he has never posed very well for me.  Today I got two together!


Bush Alarm System

Elephants were among the regulars.


On the H1-2 just a few kilometres from Tshokwane we came across three hyaenas. Two walked quickly past us.P1180617


The third one decided to have a rest


And stuck his tongue out at us

We stopped at Tshokawne for breakfast.  Next time I will remember to bring my own cutlery.  Plastic knives and forks just don’t do it for me!



Our rig outside Tshokwane


Who invited you to breakfast, Mr Crested Barbet?

After breakfast, we went to see if there was anything happening in the river bed.  There was!


These white-backed vultures were feasting on an impala

I asked the staff what predator had killed it but they did not know.  The carcass was there when they arrived at work this morning.



Other vultures soon got the V-mail. This lappet-faced vulture was not going to be left off the guest list.


White-heated Vulture soon to get in on the act


Lappet-faced Vulture


There was soon a crowd of tourists standing next to us trying to get a look so we moved away and carried on toward Satara.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted one of my favourite birds, far from water.


Saddle-billed Stork looking a little scruffy – I think he is still young as his colours are not very bright.

Soon we came upon a traffic jam.  “It has to be a lion or leopard,” I told the Earl.  Cars and tourist jeeps were parked badly across the road and there was only a very narrow passage through them.  The Earl gingerly piloted the rig through and stopped for a quick look.   It was a leopard eating a baby hyaena!

We quickly snapped our photos and continued in order not to add to the chaos!

We arrived at Satara at 11:00.  It was still overcast but no rain.   We found a site right on the perimeter with a view across the veld.

Last night’s storm had kept us awake so after setting up we had a rest until just after 15:00 then set off for a short drive. The clouds had cleared and the temperature was 37 degrees C.  I don’t think we have ever seen this part of the park so dry.   Rain is desperately needed.

In spite of the dry conditions, there was quite a bit of game to see.


Hi, do you come here often?


Swainson’s Spurfowl


At last – our first Kori Bustard of the trip.


A rather muddy rhino

From the bridge, we looked down onto the river bank and were quite shocked at how low the water level was.


Yellow-billed Stork


Saddle-billed Stork

We got back to camp at 17:45 and it was still very hot.   As in most camps, there is also a lot of avian activity at Satara.  We were delighted to find these visitors were not at all shy.


My elusive Go-away-bird is now right outside the caravan!


Red-billed Buffalo-weaver


Long-billed Crombec


Red-billed hornbill


Grey-headed Sparrow

There are a few Wire-tailed Swallows, Woodlands Kingfisher and Mourning Doves about too, but I haven’t snapped them yet.


Satara Campsite


Sunset at Satara


Beautiful Sky

I cooked chicken in the Remoska Pot for dinner and we were in bed by 20:00.  However, in the middle of the night, we were woken by crashing thunder, crackling lightning and pelting rain! The Earl got up to check the canopy but it was too late!  The weight of the collected water caused the tent poles to bend.  We would deal with that problem in the light of day!  There was not much sleep for us from then on!

20 November 2019

It was still raining when we got up at 06:00 this morning.  The Earl donned his bathing costume and I just risked getting my pyjamas wet.  We sorted out the broken poles and rolled up the canopy and only managed to get slightly damp.

I then went off to shower while The Earl called Gecko in Haenitzburg.   At 07:30 he set off to get replacement poles.  This should take most of the day.  As I write I am alone at Satara, blogging and getting some caravan chores done!  It is still overcast and raining from time to time.  We are not complaining.  The park desperately needs rain!


7 thoughts on “Gecko 81 goes to Kruger – Skukuza to Satara

  1. perdebytjie

    Dis goed om te hoor van die reën! Ons was verlede week in SabiSand en die rivier daar is ook amper droog.Seekoeie vergader orals in groot groepe in die vlak poele. Twee jaar terug was dit ook so en die natuur het ‘n wonderlike manier om te herstel.Ons hoop vir nog reën.Ek geniet jou skrywes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. de Wets Wild

    Ah Helen, lovely to see you arrive at Satara and to hear that the area has been receiving some good rainfall. Sorry about the damage to your camping setup though.

    I’ve never heard of a leopard feeding on a hyena before. By the looks of it the leopard is a rather old animal, perhaps desperate for any meat it can find?

    Liked by 1 person


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