Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger – Satara to Skukuza

3 December 2019

If we thought moving south was going to be cooler, we were wrong. It is just as hot in this half of the park.  This morning at 04:30 it was already 25 degrees C and it got up to 43 by 14h00!

We were on the road to Skukuza with the Gecko in tow by 05:30.   Remember the sun is up really early in this part of the world and it was shining brightly at this hour.

We were greeted by the usual gang – impala with their gambolling lambs, zany zebras expecting us to wait patiently as they strolled across the road and grumpy wildebeest turning their heads snootily away from us.

IMG_6436 Whalberg 2019-12-03 6-20-05 AM
A Tawny Eagle glanced sideways at us

Being in the right place at the right time is what it’s all about when seeking creatures in an African game reserve.  This morning Kruger decided to reveal some of her drama to us.

First, we saw two or three stationary cars.  Then we saw a scattering of about nine or ten hyaenas.  “There must be a kill,” I said and scanned the scene. “Lion – I see a lion under that bush.  Wait, there are others!”   Altogether I counted five.

 

As we watched one hyaena after another snatch a bone and run off with it, vultures suddenly dropped down from the sky.

One by one four of the lionesses left the scene, crossed the road in front of the cars and disappeared into the bush.  We think they went to find a pond to quench their thirst.

IMG_6519 Hyaena and vulture scene 2019-12-03 6-40-13 AM
Hyaenas and vultures everywhere
P1190061 Hyaena getting close to lion's kill 2019-12-03 6-55-56 AM
This hyaena is not afraid of the lioness – she is waiting patiently to grab a scrap.  She is blocking the view to the lioness
P1190059 Lioness on kill by Earl 2019-12-03 6-55-50 AM
Munching on the carcass of a Waterbuck, I think – see the horn
IMG_6568 Lioness on kill 2019-12-03 7-04-59 AM
Those hyaenas and vultures must wait their turn.
P1190052 Lioness 2019-12-03 6-51-06 AM
Off to find a drink

IMG_6565 Two Hyaenas 2019-12-03 7-03-51 AMIMG_6558 Three Hyaenas 2019-12-03 7-02-02 AMIMG_6552 Lioness and Vulture at kill 2019-12-03 7-00-38 AM

IMG_6545 Hyaena carrying bone 2019-12-03 6-48-34 AM
Hey, look!  I’ve got a bone!
IMG_6543 Vultures 2019-12-03 6-47-36 AM
Patiently waiting for their turn
IMG_6532 Vulture with wings spread 2019-12-03 6-42-51 AM
Might as well show off while I’m here

IMG_6526 Hyaenas with bone 2019-12-03 6-41-59 AM

IMG_6525
Nobody’s paying any attention to my beauty
IMG_6523 Hooded Vulture 2019-12-03 6-41-16 AM
Hooded Vulture, I think.
IMG_6515 Hyaena 2019-12-03 6-39-44 AM
When is that lion going to leave!
IMG_6509 Lioness 2019-12-03 6-38-43 AM
All right, my subjects, I’m leaving now.  The scraps are all yours.

That was quite a lot of excitement for 6:30 in the morning!  Luckily it was at a place where we could stand with the caravan and even though it was next to a tar road there were only about four cars there.

We continued our journey and stopped at Tshokwane for breakfast.

At Skukuza, we found a lovely shady spot for the caravan.   I needed to do some washing but when I checked out the laundry found that the washing machine was missing!   There were two groundsmen about so I asked if there was perhaps another one close by.  Fortunately, there was one near the safari tents not far away.   After putting on a load, the Earl and I went to the pool to cool off.  After the 45 minutes, I walked to the laundry and hung the washing and then we went off for our afternoon drive.

We enjoyed watching our close relatives having a picnic under the trees, noted that the impala lambs were multiplying and there were lots of baby zebras about too.

IMG_6595 Female Kudu 2019-12-03 4-04-06 PM
These ladies were trying to keep cool in the shade
IMG_6603
I cannot resist photographing every steenbok I see.   They are quite shy but often stay still long enough for a photoshoot

We ended our drive with a visit to Lake Panic which is my most favourite spot in Kruger. Even at 17:00, it was very hot and the Earl could only take it for fifteen minutes before having to return to the air-conditioned car.  I stayed a minute or two longer but as there was not a great deal more to observe, and I didn’t want him to get lonely without me, I left too.

IMG_6612 Hippo at Lake Panic 2019-12-03 4-58-45 PM
Hippos enjoying a swim but was this yawner bored or tired?
IMG_6624 Female Kudu drinking at Lake Panic 2019-12-03 5-01-58 PM
Lovely to see kudu come down to drink
IMG_6638 Paradise Flycatcher Lake Panic 2019-12-03 5-08-48 PM
A Paradise Flycatcher took a sip and then flew onto a branch and actually posed!
IMG_6639 White-faced Ducks 2019-12-03 5-10-22 PM
White-faced ducks were visiting too

Clouds started gathering as I brought in the washing and a gusting wind began to blow.  I decided it would be better to cook in the Remoska rather than braai tonight.  We fully expected a thunderstorm during the night.

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.

2 thoughts on “Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger – Satara to Skukuza

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