7 December 2019
The dawn chorus woke us well before it was actually dawn this morning. Going back to sleep was impossible so we packed up and were on the road with Gecko in tow by quarter to five. It was going to be a long drive as we would start on the S110 then take the H3 tar road to Skukuza and have breakfast there before taking the H4-1 to Lower Sabie.
One does not expect to have too much excitement on the tar road especially when one is towing a caravan! But today all the animals came out to play.
Just minutes after exiting Berg en Dal we saw a car stopped up ahead. “We see a lion! – Under that tree,” said the little girl in the back seat. And sure enough, but a fair distance away, sat a male lion staring with big eyes. Because of the caravan and not wanting to spoil their view we rode on.
Not long afterwards, still on the S110, we saw this.
Wild Dogs are endangered and they are carefully monitored in the Kruger National Park.
There were three or four cars slowly following the dogs but we managed to overtake and go past the animals so that everybody could have a good sighting. It also gave me the chance to look back and aim my camera at the running dogs.
Wow – what a great start to our morning!
We missed getting a photograph of the first lion but on the H3 a car up ahead stopped. As we approached we saw the lion walking on the road. She then went into the bush and we could see her but she was not photographable. The Earl got a bum shot which is not worth posting. We couldn’t hang around to see if she would emerge as more cars arrived from both directions and we didn’t want to get caught in the mess.
Not long after that – you’ve guessed it – more lions! This time there were several young cubs of various ages. They’d been left alone while the mothers went hunting we presume. One lay on the road while others were spread out in the grass and under the trees.
We continued on and found the birds were enjoying the early morning sun. The Lilac-breasted roller is very common in Kruger but still very pretty.
Sensitive viewers, please skip the next two pictures! A car up ahead of us stopped and we looked into the bush to see what they had spotted. But the front passenger pointed downward from her window and then they drove off.
I saw a snake – a puff adder I think – wriggling his tail like mad but not moving forward. On closer observation, I saw why.
It was soon after this that we arrived at Skukuza. We parked the Everest and Gecko at the caravan park and walked to the restaurant to have our own breakfast which was a lot more appetising than frog!
I have to say that The Cattle Baron at Skukuza is awesome. We sat on the deck with a wonderful view over the Sabie River and ordered The Sunrise which was less than R50,00. The Earl had a cappuccino and I had a black Americano. I’m fussy about coffee and I had no complaints. The sunrise consists of two eggs, two slices of bacon, a potato rosti a grilled tomato and toast. You can choose to have your eggs any style and we both asked for scrambled. When it arrived I could not believe how much food was on my plate – three large slices of bacon instead of two and I am sure you can’t get that much scramble out of two eggs! It was awesome. I told the waiter that I had a complaint. “I ordered two slices of bacon and I got three!”
“I like your complaint,” he said with a look of relief on his face!
We continued on to Lower Sabie and had some lovely sightings.
The sky began to cloud over as we arrived at Lower Sabie but it was still very hot. We set up camp and then had a rest before going out again. There was a light drizzle all afternoon.
We had some lovely sightings of elephant and buffalo and other animals but the birding was particularly good.
We have been seeing the Red-crested Korhaan frequently but the Black-bellied Bustard only revealed himself to us today. He looks similar but has a longer neck and is taller in stature.
I have been trying all holiday to get the Red-faced Mousebird to pose for me and today he sat still beautifully for the Earl.
It was quite a thrill to see this family cross the road in front of us