Travelling in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 14

Saturday 14 November 2020

There are days in Kruger when the sightings just keep coming and others when you wonder whether the king of the beasts has imposed a lockdown and they’re all hiding in their nests. lairs and dens.

Today was slow and yet it was awesome because whatever delights Kruger decides to show you the effort of seeking will have been worth it.

Just like every day we started with our morning coffee – around 5:30 am!

While sipping my brew I heard the familiar knock on wood of a certain bird that likes to peck. I went to investigate, saw him clearly, raised my camera to my eye and he stuck his tongue out at me and disappeared into the foliage. There were actually two of them and after a few minutes I managed to snap a photo.

This bearded woodpecker was not interested in a photo shoot so early in the morning.

So with coffee over and a picnic breakfast packed we set off on the H1-3. The biggest of the Southern African birds of prey made an appearance. We saw one a few days ago but he refused to pose. This one was more obliging

Martial Eagle

All the while we searched for interesting creatures to photograph we saw the usual gang of wildebeest, the elegant giraffe, the stripy zebras and a few wandering warthogs. And there are always elephants.

Near Kumana Dam we found a pride of lions. It was a big pride of more than 10. They were resting in the shade watching the water for unsuspecting prey. A giraffe in the distance decided to stand perfectly still and not risk a sip of water. The lions, though, were chilled and just lying around.

I think it’s time for a nap
Should we bother? It’s just too hot.
Let’s wait until it gets cooler

After spending a bit of time with the uncommunicative pride we took the S125 (N”waswitsonso loop)

I got the best sighing ever of a bird that is usually quite shy and flits off quickly if he sees you with a camera.

Brown-headed Tchagra
See my brown crown
I am cute aren’t I?

The Southern Ground Hornbill is vulnerable in South Africa. The biggest population of them resides in The Kruger National Park. I can’t remember ever not seeing them on a visit but this time we have seen them more than once a day. We joke that they are becoming as common as impala! Still, I can’t resist stopping and taking their portraits every time. I am trying to get interesting ones now. I was rather amused at seeing the warthog and the ground hornbill in the same frame. They have rather rude nicknames for each other.

Good morning, Porky. Lovely to see you. Howzit, Beaky -long time no see.

We are starting to see impala lambs! Soon there will be enough to make a nursery herd.

This one needed a drink

There is a certain bird in the park that is absolutely everywhere. He is rather cute so when he starts singing from the top of a bush we stop before we realise we have hundreds of photos of him. His call is distinctive and we realise our mistake the minute he opens his beak!

The ever-present Rattling cisticola

At Shimangwaneni Dam we saw absolutely nothing and were about to leave when a whole bevy of beauties arrived for a paddle

Female Waterbuck with some young males
And then the Lord and Master arrived to check on them
“My horns are bigger than your horns!” says Mr Waterbuck
“Yes, but size doesn’t matter – Mine are curvier than yours!” comes the cheeky reply.
Come and join us – it’s lovely once you’re in.

From the central to northern part of KNP the picnic sites are more rustic. I love this about the north. A caretaker takes pride in his site and makes sure everything is pristine. He has a fridge stocked with cold drinks and water and there may be boiling water on tap or he will have an enormous kettle on a gas stove. So if your flask has gone cold – no problem – just remember to pack the coffee and cups. You can also hire a skottel to cook your bacon and eggs.

Today we stopped at Muzandzeni where Loderic is in charge. There are no flush loos but the long drops are pristine. Loderic has proudly taken care of this site for twelve years. It amazes me that so much can be wrong with the facilities in Kruger but here one man manages to ensure that we’re all well looked after and happy when we visit.

I asked Loderic’s permission to take photographs for my blog. He did not know what a blog was but after I gave him a brief explanation he smiled broadly and was happy to pose.

Loderic loves his job and does it well. Proudly South African!
An absolute pleasure to visit this site
This big boy visited the waterhole next to the picnic site
I can’t resist photographing my favourite animal. Geraldine here is taking a drink at Nsemani Dam

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