Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 34 Pretoriuskop to Lower Sabie and Back

Today was a very long day. It was warm at first but became cooler as the day wore on. It was quite windy too. The skies clouded over and rain threatened but all we got was a spit and a spot later in the afternoon and evening.

At 08:20 we found ourselves at Shithave Dam but did not stay long as there were a number of cars and more arrived before we left.

A beautiful morning scene
Although Egyptian Geese are common birds they always improve the scenery

We then took the H1-1 and passed groups of curious impies, kudu, giraffe and zebra.

A mongoose also crossed our path
We have seen quite a few families of Southern Ground Hornbill and today was no exception

The male ground hornbill has a pink skin patch on his throat while the female’s is violet blue. Sometimes it is difficult to see.

Here starting in the foreground – juvenile, male and female
Female

We also popped in at Transport Dam

Seen on our way back to the road
A line of zebra appeared too

We continued along the H1-1 and were thrilled to see all the creatures along the way.

It was lovely to see an Emerald-spotted Wood Dove fly up and pose in a tree instead of flitting about on the ground.

Much of our route took us along the river and across weirs, low and high bridges. Where there is water, you will usually find animals.

Crossing the bridge on the H1-2 we spotted a fish eagle.

A handsome chap indeed
Then we saw a crocodile ….
…who needed an orthodontist

We were entertained by more creatures as we moved on.

A rather handsome Imp
Red-billed Ox-peckers taking a break from grooming their kudu client. The one in the middle is just an apprentice and only gets a red bill when she qualifies.
Always great to see you, Raafie
Kudu and Imps get on well together
Ellies having fun
Come on baby, don’t lag behind

As we got closer to Lower Sabie the traffic on the road became worse. It is a popular route because of the Sabie River and the abundance of animals especially lion and leopard. Today there were no less than three serious road blocks because cars would not adhere to the rule to stay on the side of the sighting and leave the other side free so people can take their photographs and move on. The worst one was for a leopard in a tree. We never got to see it because of the traffic jam. It turned out that it was so hidden that it was hardly worth the trouble to find it. By this time we were hungry and wanted to get to Lower Sabie for our lunch and so we concentrated on taking the first gap and dashed through quickly. There were two more roadblocks after that and it took an hour to do a distance that normally takes 15 minutes!

We managed to glimpse lions at the second roadblock.

Wondering what all the fuss is about
I couldn’t be bothered about those silly homosapiens

The third one was ridiculous. The lions were all fast asleep and would be for hours. There was absolutely no point for so many cars to block the road in anticipation of the creatures waking up.

Really? Would you stare for hours at this?

It was quite cold when we arrived at Lower Sabie but we were lucky enough to get a table in a sheltered spot on the Mug and Bean deck. We were all a bit rattled by having to fight traffic in a game reserve and decided to get back to Pretoriuskop as soon as we could. We did not stop to photograph too much.

We visited Sunset Dam just outside the camp before and after lunch.

Hippos and yellow-billed storks were fraternising
A thirsty giraffe took a deep drink
Look at those huge feet on the Jacana. They help him walk on water vegetation
The clever Great White Egret has found a rock to fish from. No wait – that’s not a rock – it’s a hippo!

We were tired so did not stop for very much more on the way back to camp. However, who can resist babies

A heap of hyaenas outside their den.
The babies are still quite young

Our last stop was at Mathekenyane

Me taking a photo of the Earl taking a photo of me
This great rocky outcrop has a great view

As we’d had a good lunch at Lower Sabie we did not cook but instead warmed up some pies for supper and then it was into our cosy caravans for our second last night at Pretoriuskop.

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