Travelling in the Time of Covid – Missing in Action

Blogging in the African Bush can at times be a challenge. In the Kruger National Park rest camps internet connection is usually fine but at times it’s a bit erratic. Here at Satara we have had a few problems but that is not the only reason I have been missing in action.

In Struisbaai I have an amazing team who are helping me to publish my recently completed book, “A Judge Decided” by Helen Fenwick. (A bit of advertising here!) Ina, my editor, Chantal, artwork and layout and Eloise my publishing manager have done an awesome job of getting it all together. They would have liked me to have had the final proof in my hands before leaving for our road trip but the gremlins got to work and it was just not possible. Plan B was to courier it to the park. Big Joke. Nobody at Sanparks could help make this happen. If they could not get it to me it would hold up the publishing by a month. But then a miracle. Eloise called me to say her husband would be in Hoedspruit for three days on business. He could meet us there either on Monday when he arrived or on Wednesday before he left. This fitted in perfectly with our itinerary as we would arrive at Satara, the nearest camp to Hoedspruit, on that Monday. We therefore arranged to meet him at 11:30 am on Wednesday. It’s a two hour drive through the park and out at Orpen Gate to get to the town. We also needed to do a few things in town. The Earl wanted two new shirts, his phone charging lead was broken, we needed more of my favourite wine, Springfield Life from Stone, and a call in at the pharmacy would be useful. We had breakfast and got all our chores done with perfect timing. Thanks to Renier for being the courier!

Then, of course, I had to spend some time going through the proof, making sure I was happy with the final product! I spent that afternoon and half the Wednesday morning doing just that and so we had a bit of a rest from game driving!

It wasn’t all work though and on the way to and from Orpen Gate we enjoyed a bit of game viewing. Then on Thursday we did a short drive once I’d done my homework.

We also did a night drive on yesterday thanks to a charming young man whom we met at the Honorary Ranger’s Birding weekend in February. Joey, from Germany, could not use the prize he won so he gifted it to us! Thanks, Joey – it was awesome.

Here are the highlights from the last two days.

On Wednesday it started off at a chilly 19 degrees C but rose to about 24 degrees C in the afternoon. It was overcast and we had a spit and a spot of rain.

Brown-hooded parrots seem to like the Satara area. We hear them all the time and there are even some in the camp
I don’t know why this red-crested spur-fowl is turning his back on us.

The Hat and Creek has a lovely setting
The Poach was awesome – like an Eggs Florentine or Benedict – we had salmon
For my Aussie friend, Erich!
Always lovely to see bee-eaters. This one is a European Bee-eater
There are profusions of spring flowers in the park right now – Anne or Dries – can you name them?
Very pretty
So waaah!
I think she may be ready for the maternity ward? Hard to tell with zebra as they always look fat.
Don’t mess with us – we will win!
It’s lovely down by the pool today.
I do have the most amazing antlers
There were scores of these wattled starlings in the trees. None were sporting their wattles yet.

It was clear and warm on Thursday evening but we took jackets as it can get chilly on a moving vehicle at night.

I don’t like using a flash when photographing animals so had to rely on what I could get from the searchlight.

There were eight of us on the vehicle and of course we were all South Africans. Our guide, Patrick, was really good and tried his best to get us some interesting sightings. It is so different riding in the park at night. It is very dark and the stars are incredible. Just that made it an exciting excursion.

The first nocturnal creatures we saw was a small spotted genet. We also saw a serville but I did not get it’s protrait.

We heard the roar from a lion and eventually found her when we turned off to see an elephant. It is difficult to see the creatures in the dark but I saw her first and was able to tell Patrick where. He took us as close as was polite.

She was all alone and yelling for her mate to come over but he was obviously not in the mood. She eventually got up and walked off and we didn’t see her again.

Our last and most exciting spot was an owl next to the vehicle sitting still on the road. I did not recognise it as I’d never seen this owl before. I am glad that Patrick knows his birds!

I now it’s a terrible photo of this Marsh Owl but I was not about to blind it with my flash!

Thanks again for joining me. More to follow soon.

7 thoughts on “Travelling in the Time of Covid – Missing in Action

  1. Anne

    I look forward to knowing more about your book! I enjoyed the saga about the courier too. Your photographs are lovely in this post. The nearest I can find to your orange flowers that grow in that area are called Lion’s Eye, although the leaves don’t look right. The hibiscus are probably the Bladder Hibiscus.

    Liked by 1 person


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