Friday 13 November 2020
Some people won’t even get out of bed on Friday 13th for fear of some dread thing befalling them. Or if they do they blame the date if anything goes wrong! I am not that superstitious but I couldn’t help wondering when I woke up this morning whether the date would have an effect on our sighitings.
I need not have worried. We made a late start today and only left Satara at 9:00 am. Our friends, Jim and Maureen had left much earlier. Just as we were leaving my cell rang. It was Maureen asking where we were and telling us that they would be following the S100.
This road is famous for producing very good sightings so we decided to catch them up and follow them to N’wanetsi Picnic Site for breakfast.
As always we kept a keen eye out for birds and as luck would have it we soon caught up to Jim and Maureen. Maureen had spotted a ‘yellow bird’ Jim knew exactly what it was!
They moved on while we stayed a little longer to get our photographs. Then we caught up at another interesting sighting they had.
As we continued I spotted a familiar shape and yelled for the Earl to stop. The bird was trying hard to hide behind a mesh of twigs and leaves but eventually I managed to get a half decent photograph
Before heading to N’wanetsi for breakfast we visited a Gudzani dam viewpoint and found yellow-billed stork, open bills, blacksmith lapwings and some crocodiles. We then went to have a picnic breakfast at N’wanetsi Picnic Site. This is an unfenced site and is neatly kept by an attendant. The loos are clean and you can get boiling water on tap. It was 12 o’clock when we made our way to Sweni Hide. It was warm today but the hide was pleasantly cool and we were the only people there for over an hour. This turned out to be one of the best experiences we have had this trip. We did not see the Big Five but what we did see was amazing.
There were a few elephants at one end of the dam and hippos right in front of the hide. The scene kept changing. First one troop of elephants came down to drink, shower and swim then others kept arriving until one lot came right up to the hide and we could hear them munching behind us. We realised some were at the car park and when my camera battery went flat I was too scared to go to the car to fetch my spare. Other people arrived and I asked, “Were the elephants there?”
“Yes,” replied a nervous looking woman.
“And you got out of the car?”
“Yes,” she replied. “Much against my better judgement but they ignored us.”
I would not have been so brave! I would not leave the hide until I was sure there was a safe distance between me and them.
The hippos were also very entertaining today. We took hundreds of photographs and none do justice to the experinece we had watching them in real life.
There was so much to see from the hide that we did not know where to look and what to photograph. I took over 200 pictures. Different groups of animals kept coming and going. First impala, then waterbuck then zebra and kudu. It was awesome to watch the interaction.
The birds were also awesome to watch
Once the hide began to fill and it became hotter we decided as one that it was time to leave and make our way back to camp for a rest.
In the evening we had Jim, Maureen and the friends, Har and Chris whom we met at Skukuza, over for a braai.