Travel in the time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 7 and 8

7 November 2020 – A Rest Day

We left Skukuza at quarter to six this morning. The temperature was already 23 degrees C and by midday it was 47 degrees C. Hot does not describe it.

We drove to the bridge that crosses the Sabie River, did the Maroela Loop and then returned to Skukuza for breakfast. After that we went to Lake Panic. In the afternoon we went to the wonderful AM Spa and had a couple’s massage. One hour later and all the past, present and future knots were thoroughly worked out, hopefully never to return!

Here are the highlights of our drive.

Three-banded plover
Lesser-striped Swallow
Green-pigeon

Lake Panic was not at all busy with people today and even though it was quiet at first, things improved and we had some interesting sightings.

Lake Panic, not as full as it usually is
Cranky Kevin Croc slunk out of the water for a while then slithered back in again
Nancy Natal Francolin blended in well
At first the black crake kept hidden but after a while became quite bold as he scurried about the shoreline
“Pity for me”, calls the brown hooded kingfisher – Lucky for us that we got to see him
Jackie Jacobin Cuckoo showed off beautifully
Freddie Firefinch of the red-billed variety came down for a bath
Emma the Emerald-spotted Wood-dove also enjoyed a dip and a drink at the lake.

8 November 2020 Skukuza to Kumana Dam and Back

Once again it was very hot today. We did not leave until quarter to seven when the temperature was already 27 degrees C. By 10:30 it had risen to 43 degrees C.

Our drive today produced more animals and birds than we expected. There wasn’t a dull moment. Our bird list is now up to 103!

Grey Go-away-bird seen on H11

A warthog and a rattling cisticola were also up and about but we didn’t bother them with our cameras.

The H4-1 turned out to be very busy today.

Female Kudu
Female Nyala
Male Nyala
A Neck of Giraffe on the S 30
Most of the female impies are pregnant – they’ll be dropping their lambs any day now
We saw hundreds of them seeking shade all over the park.
Mac Donald’s for lions
Barbie Bateleur finally posed for her portrait.
Elephants surprised us around every corner!

We stopped at Tshokwane for a picnic breakfast as they are still not offering full service yet. We did, however, order their wonderful coffee. I chatted to someone who told me they had seen lions under a tree next to a dam 20km further north. The Earl was not keen on doing the extra kilometers. They could easily be gone by the time we got there. But I thought there was a good chance they would be settling down there for the day so persuaded him to skip Orpen on our way back in favour of it. After all, up until now the H1-2 had produced good sightings. It might just continue on the H1-3. So he agreed and off we went.

Just a kilometer or two from Tshokwane there is a loop that takes you closer to the river. We spotted a camper van parked along it and decided to check what he’d seen. We took the path a little lower to the one he was on and looked down into the river where there were some elephants.

“He’s not looking at elephants,” I said. “There is nobody in the driver’s seat. They’re all in the van looking through the back window.”

We needed to drive past him or turn around to get back on the main road and were about to do the turn around when the driver came back to his seat and indicated for us to wait. Then when he drove level with us he told the Earl what they’d seen. The Earl did not catch what he said and assumed he’d spotted the wildebeest across the road. But from the excitement on the faces of the children in the vehicle, I thought there must be something else.

Then as we drove by we saw exactly what the dear man had been trying to communicate.

Leonie Lioness was having some me time.
This is how close she was to The Earl’s window.

Well, even if we miss the lions further along at least we’d seen this one! The sightings continued to be interesting and we saw lots of zebra, giraffe, impala, warthogs, wildebeest, buffalo and of course elephants

Spot Gertie Giraffe in the background

We then came to a dam. No lions but interesting nevertheless.

This dam was 10 km from Tshokwane. “I think there’s another one further on,” I said So we continued and found Kumana Dam! We were indeed in luck. There were only a few cars parked on the side of the road overlooking the water. There were a variety of creatures to be seen.

Jemima giraffe dared to come close. The zany zebra gang were more cautious
During the time we watched we counted 18 lions/ These are just some of them
One by one more came along to join the pride
Zac and Zelda considering the risk of going down to drink
Jemima was really thirsty – she almost dared to dip down and take a few sips
But decided that caution was the better part of valour

We also popped off to see the southern most Baobab tree.

Our return trip was just as exciting.

We watched elephants bathing in a water hole
Sally Saddle-billed Stork preened herself.
We found more lions near Tshokwane
A Ground Hornbill decided to climb a tree
His friends decided it was cooler in the grass
And the highlight of the day – a black stork

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.

10 thoughts on “Travel in the time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 7 and 8

    1. It promises to be cooler tomorrow. It’s okay in the car with the aircon going. And we have aircon in the caravan but there are those times when you can’t ovoid being outside!

      Like

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