Travelling in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 10 – Satara and surrounds

Thank you for joining us on today’s game drive and a special welcome to our fellow Gecko owners who appreciate the joy of camping in Kruger as much as we do.

The weather today is much cooler than we have had in the past week so do bring your fleece. But don’t be fooled by the overcast sky. It’s still going to get quite hot later on.

Geez Louise, where is your mask? We’re travelling in the time of Covid you know, so rush back and get it right now! You won’t have to wear it in the vehicle but when we go into the hides and visit a picnic site you must remember to stay safe. Wear your mask and sanitise!

It’s 6 am and we are taking the H-3. What’s that you say? Oh the wildebeest are very frisky in the early morning. They’re running off their excess energy, taking their daily exercise. And look the zebra are so excited they’re running to the water hole to quench their thirst. They’re too quick for the camera – don’t bother to get a blurry shot. We shall see some more a little later.

Now we’re taking the S100 – It never disappoints. There is always something to see. Do you hear that click and whistle? It’s the male black-backed puffback advertising that this is his territory. Look at the top of that tree. Sometimes he puffs up his back feathers into a snowball to attract a mate – hence his name. He is not doing that now but what a handsome fellow he is.

Black-backed Puffback

Wow, what a lot of waterbuck we’re seeing. We should change the name of the S100 to Water Buck Highway

These girls are in a relaxed mood.

“Why are we not seeing nursery herds of impala lambs?” you ask. “Well, the females all drop their lambs around about the same time and that should be any time soon. Oh look – there’s a baby now! He is full of the joys of spring, gambolling after his mother. Soon he will have lots of little impie friends to play with.

First lamb of the season

My goodness we’re seeing a lot of African Hoopoes. What striking birds they are. They like to eat insects.

African Hoopoe

Stop! Look over there toward those trees. Can you see a neck of giraffe? And right nearby their friends the zebra. They often keep company with each other. There is no competition for food as giraffe are browsers and zebra grazers.

Giraffe and Zebra enjoying each other’s company

I wonder why those cars are stopped up ahead. What can they have spotted? I see a large camera lens pointing upward into a tree. Maybe it’s a leopard.

No, you say – it’s a big and very strange looking bird! Ah – a ground hornbill! She is probably looking for a suitable crevice in the tree to make her nest.

Yes the S100 has been full of interesting animals and birds. We will be turning off soon but first take a look over there – Wally Warthog, all on his own. I wonder where his friends are.

A face that only a mother can love!

We are now on the S41. We’re crossing a low water bridge and look over there. Three pied kingfishers are hovering and diving for their breakfast.

Pied Kingfisher hovering over the water
Female Pied Kingfisher settled in the tree

That was fun to watch. Now let’s just take a detour to Sweni Hide.

The rules must be obeyed
Watch out for wildlife when you step out of the car – Louise – have you got your mask?
Oh – don’t you see anything? Look through your binoculars and scan. If there’s nothing here we’ll leave.
Yes – An African Pied Wagtail – he likes to eat invertebrates and insects.

Look across the water to the opposite bank. Are you sure that’s a log you see? Take a closer look.

A lonely croc lying all day on a sunny rock.
He wants friends with all my might but nobody likes his appetite

Well, I hope you all have an appetite because it’s time for breakfast. We’re off to N’wanetsi Picnic Site. We have packed breakfast, coffee and a flask but if we need more boiling water they do have it on tap. It’s an unfenced site so please take care and stay within the demarcated area

There is also a station for washing up
The ablutions are clean and the entire site is well maintained by an attendant

It is now nine o’clock and already we have seen so much. Let’s get going now and see what we can find on the H6. Don’t drive too fast, Earl. Look who’s trying to win a race!

Tony Tortoise just keeps heading to the finish line

But now we turn onto the S126 and come upon a lovely scene of giraffe and zebra.

Standing all day is hard on the legs. Sometimes we just need to sit down!

Oh look what’s here at Sweni waterhole.

How lovely to see so many creatures enjoying the refreshing water
Seriously Willie? Do you need to go down on your knees to get a drink?

Did someone say stop? Where? What do you see? Oh right over there in the distance.

Three jackal enjoying each other’s company

Let’s move on. Listen to that tuneful call, wip-wheedle-tyeoo-weet-weet. There down in the river bed.

Kurrichane Thrush

Has everybody seen him? Right let’s move on. Oh look – another pretty bird. This one is quite a show-off and loves to pose for photographs.

Lilac-breasted Roller

Who is that inquisitive creature staring at us. I just love these little antelope. They’re usually quite shy but sometimes they surprise us by standing perfectly still and then dart off into the bush.

Female Steenbok

On we go and don’t worry if we don’t see too much for a while. That’s the way it goes in a game reserve. You will get dizzy from seeing a number of different creatures at regular intervals and then for miles won’t even see an impala. ‘

We are now on the S36 and it is almost eleven o’clock. The temperature has risen to 25 degrees C. It’s warm but not too hot. Oh look – two cars parked up ahead. What have they seen? Well a hyaena is coming into view and there are a couple of zebra and a wildebeest,

Hyaena passing by

Are those stones under the tree?

They’re not moving but they look very much like dogs to me
Yes indeed – One wild dog gets up
When a dog’s gotta go he’s gotta go!
I may look like your pet at home but don’t even think of patting me on the head
Zac and Willie patiently waiting to get to the puddle of water where the dogs are sleeping

Have you all seen enough? It’s time to move on. It is half past 11. Let’s see what the H7 has to offer. No – that’s not a lilac-breasted roller but it is quite similar.

Purple Roller

And we all know what that big bird striding over there is. There is no other quite like him in the world.

Ollie Ostrich is black while his wife is grey.

Next we look down on Nsemani Dam. It’s midday which is when the elephants like to come for a drink, a shower and a swim.

This is fun Mum
An elephant tussle
A fish Eagle comes to see what the fuss is about
Mrs White faced Duck with Mrs Knob-billed duck. Mr Knob-bill wonders what they’re talking about
What a smart nose you have.

I know you would all love to stay and watch the elephants but it’s time to make our way home.

Farewell Freddie Fish Eagle

We’re almost back at Satara now. What can you spot before the drive ends.

Stop Earl – Just look at that!

Have you ever seen this before? Walter Warthog fraternising with Kara Kudu.

An unusual friendship

Thank you for riding along with us. We hope to see you again tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “Travelling in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 10 – Satara and surrounds

  1. bushboy

    Another great part in this series. So many wonderful birds I have never seen. A Pied Kingfisher and Rollers are so colourful. Loving the variety of animals too. I don’t think I have ever seen a giraffe sitting down. Have a great night and let’s see what tomorrow brings πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person


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