Travelling in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 18

Before I start today’s blog let me tell you about yesterday’s afternoon drive.

Tuesday 17 November 2020 – Afternoon Drive

We leave Satara at 2 o’clock with the intention of returning at 4. Our destination is Sweni Hide which has twice provided us with entertaining sightings in the past week. We spot very few creatures on the H1-3 and H6. It’s as if the animals have packed up and left the country.

A lilac breasted roller is one of the few birds to make an appearance

It is ten past three when we arrive at Sweni and having seen next to nothing on the drive we hope it’s because they’re all frolicking at the pool! No such luck. There is nothing besides two Egyptian Geese and a blacksmith lapwing. There is no sign of a crocodile, no stirring of a hippo.

My rule is wait five minutes before you leave a waterhole. We wait.

Two minutes later – Mr Green-backed Heron arrives
We notice baboons in the trees
A hungry brown-headed kingfisher drops by
The baboons from time to time leave the shady trees and come down to drink
I can manage by myself, Mom
And then they appear out of nowhere
Quite unexpectedly two lady nyala materialise
Just a few impala join them

At ten to four we do not want to leave as even though the visitors are few, the scene is peaceful and we enjoy spending time observing one creature at a time. So our nothing turns out to produce over 10 different species – baboon, Egyptian goose, marsh sandpiper, three-banded plover, hippo, crocodile, nyala, impala green-backed heron, brown-hooded kingfisher and hadeda.

We have to drag ourselves away in order to get back to camp to prepare for Jim and Maureen who we have invited for supper.

On the way back we find that the creatures have returned. We see zebra, giraffe, warthogs, waterbuck and wildebeest that had not been there earlier!

Mrs Waterbuck looks so fetching in that lovely scarf..

Wednesday 18 November 2020

The Lockdown restrictions laid down by the King of the Beasts have been lifted. It seems that he was misinformed by his advisors and Covid does not affect the creatures of The Kruger National Park. The social distancing and limitation on large gatherings of over ten, it seems, were totally unnecessary and to make up for it the animals gather today not only in large numbers of their own species but they also intermingle with others not of their clan.

At first we are unaware of the liberation and are surprised to see a large herd of zebra and wildebeest making their way to N’wanetsi Dam on the Orpen Road. We go to the dam to wait for their arrival and find three buffalo in the water – not exactly a large herd but wait – a little later this changes!

We see a fish eagle overseeing proceedings and snap his portrait

The zebra and wildebeest decide to drink at a distant part of the dam so we move on. Two kilometers later we find a cat.

It does not look like the most comfortable bed
This suits me perfectly, thank you.

We go on a little further, see a hyaena attempt to catch an impala and then disappear so we turn back to the dam. What a difference!

We realise that the king has addressed his subjects and has set them free. There are thousands of buffalo.
There were lots of zebra too – these are just a few of them
Buffalo as far as the eye can see

After marvelling at this scene we go back to Satara briefly as I have forgotten my spare camera battery.

Of course we stop to see these two
Slim the slender mongoose is excited by the news and doesn’t scuttle off to hide.

As we make our way to Gudzandani Dam View Point we continue to see an abundance of wildlife.

A grey heron at a low level bridge crossing
Mr and Mrs Steenbok reuniting after lockdown

Zebra and Wildebeest getting together
A beautiful scene at Gudzandani

The last time we followed the S100 there was little to see. Today everybody is out to play. Somebody tells us that there are 10 lions at the waterhole we are approaching but they are gone when we get there. We don’t mind but it’s amazing that they too are in abundance today.

Looking down on the river bed we find lots of elephant and buffalo
We can’t ignore a male wattled starling
Nor the yellow-billed oxpecker ticking the buffalo off about the condition of his skin.
We are so close to the buffalo that The Earl can get a closeup
Omiword – what’s happening on my boss?
Lots of giraffe too
We see seven male waterbuck together but can only get three to pose together

Today is our last day at Camp Satara. Tomorrow we will be making our way to Letaba.

6 thoughts on “Travelling in the Time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 18

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