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.

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 33 Waterholes

It was 18 degrees C when we left camp this morning and it remained a pleasantly warm day reaching a high of 26. We left Pretoriuskop at 07:45 and shortly thereafter three little pigs crossed the road in front of us.

Warthogs wandering off at a rapid pace

We then took the S7 and S10 which wound through the typical rocky outcrops of the Pretoriuskop area.

We saw a technician’s van parked on the road and clearly he had to climb to the top of this sheer rock to mend the mast.

This is typical klipspringer territory and we were not disappointed.

There were quite a few nimbly hopping about on the rocks

This area is not the best for seeing animals but we did have a few interesting sightings.

Some of us do like it here you know
A green pigeon getting a good view of the surrounds

The S3 was a little more productive.

Good morning
Raafie was there too
We heard the brown-headed parrots before we found them in the folliage
Blending in well

Next we took the S4 which was uncomfortable to drive due to it being quite corrugated. On the S1 we found Giraffe and Ground Hornbill

Getting himself into a twist
Alway marching
in family groups searching for food

Our destination was the Lake Panic hide near Skukuza and we spent a while there before going to Skukuza for lunch. The lake was fuller than I have ever seen it.

Juvenile Darter
I love you my darling
There is a lot to shout about
Water Thick-knees
A crake playing about on a stump in the middle of the lake
Sometimes a break from the water to graze is a good idea. Might as well enjoy the groomers at the same time
Waterbuck showed up too
There were a few pied kingfishers too
And even the crested francolin found it a fun place to be
Watch out for this sneaky reptile
On the way out of the hide we saw this nyala through the fence

After lunch at Skukuza’s Cattle Baron we made our way back to camp stopping at first Transport Dam, and then Shithave Dam. It was difficult to find a place to park at both of them so once we’d taken a few photographs we did not linger.

Saddle-billed Stork
Juvenile Saddle-billed Stork
Male Waterbuck
A legawaan crept up to the storks
Zebra came down to drink
Wildebeest had a confrontation

The park is busier than we have ever seen it. It is not school holiday time and it’s an off season month which is usually a good time to come if you don’t want crowds at your favourite spots. We think the reason for the sudden influx into the park is because Gauteng private schools did not close at the usual time but did lessons online right through Lockdown. When the president announced that the borders were open and things could return to normal they were given their delayed holidays in the month of August.

When we got back to camp we did a bit of shopping at the Park Shop and did the usual camp chores. Dinner was chicken casserole and it was early to bed!

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 32 Satara to Pretoriuskop

Thursday 26 August 2021

Today was moving day. The distance between Satara and our next destination was 140 kilometres so we were up bright and early and had the caravan hitched and ready for departure by 07:15. We only travel on the main roads when towing and travelling between camps. The rule is that we try to get to the next camp as quickly as possible but Murphy always ensures that something will delay our progress. Today was no exception. Why, when we are towing a caravan, do we invariably have exceptional sightings!

Early into our trip we spotted two stationary cars up ahead. When we drew closer I spotted a cheetah on the move.

Cathy and Alec were just behind us and called on the walkie-talkie, “What do you see?” “Two cheetah,” I replied having spotted a second one. ” They’re on the move, try to get a photo. We can’t reverse.”

Cathy did better than get just one!

Female cheetahs are usually solitary unless they have cubs with them. Some males are solitary while others form coalitions with their brothers. These two cheetahs were probably brothers hunting together.

Not fifteen minutes later we had another interruption.

King of the road
Why are these canned people following me?
I will just ignore them
Oh well, I’ll get off the road and hopefully they will drinve on!

Next we stopped to photograph three very handsome buffalo boys. “Take the photo quickly,” said the Earl. “They’re going to cross the road. I will move on so Cathy can get her photo.”

The tough guys having an early morning stroll
Cathy got them crossing over

As Cathy was snapping her photos of the buffalo on the other side, Alec called out, “Hey, look over there!”

Do you see what he spotted?
Omiword. Where are the women? I want my breakfast.
They’re never around when I need them to hunt.

Buffalo are the lion’s favourite food but it takes more than one to bring one down. As the females do most of the hunting, this male would have no chance of handling three who soon became aware that he was there.

Alec’s walkie talkie battery had gone flat so we were quite unaware of the drama that had taken place when we stopped at Tshokwane for a loo break and to get the chargers out of the caravan. After seeing the buffalo on one side of the road we hadn’t thought to check the other side!

The rest of the trip was quieter. We stopped at Skukuza for breakfast and arrived at Pretoriuskop at 13:00

Of course there were elephants trying to delay us. This baby gave us a wave
As we neared Pretoriuskop, klipspringers appeared
Even the elephants like rock around here
Pretoriuskop for the next four nights

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day31

Wednesday 25 August 2021

At 815 this morning it was overcast and the temperature was 20 degrees C. We decided to have a cereal breakfast before we left for our game drive. We packed a flask and snacks to have when we got to the rustic picnic site, Muzandzeni. Our morning drive was not very interesting with long stretches of seeing nothing but grass, bush and trees. The roads we travelled were the H1-3, H7 and S45 until we reached the picnic site. Our return trip took us along the S126 and the H1-3 south. We decided to visit Nkaya dam which had been so enjoyable yesterday, before returning to camp at 13:00. Even the slowest days produce something so I am posting the highlights below.

Knob-billed duck on Nsemani Dam (H7)
On to S126 a few Ground Hornbill were foraging in the long grass
Muzandzeni Picnic Site
Brubru in a tree at the picnic site
Just after leaving the picnic site
Little Bee-eater
Nothing much at Nkaya Dam but Cathy got a lovely Green Pigeon finding something in the mud

Travelling back on the H1-3 the Earl and I fell behind Alec and Cathy when the Earl stopped to photograph a tree. “This is a very special tree,” he said. “Look what a perfect shape it is and what beautiful yellow blossoms it has.” He took a photograph.

The Special Tree

“I’ll take a close-up of the leaves and blossoms,” I said. “Perhaps we can find it in my tree book.” To be honest, I am never sure if my tree identifications are correct. I find trees a bit confusing so if anybody reading this knows the name of this tree, please let me know in the comments, WhatsApp or FaceBook.-

We have seen lots of these trees in the park

As I clicked the Earl called out, “Hey – there’s an owl in the tree!”

And there as quiet as a mouse sat a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl! – I’ve been looking for him since we entered the park!
Oh there you are – I’ve been waiting for you.

When we returned to camp we had a rest and then packed up in preparation for tomorrow’s departure to Pretoriuskop and then went for a short drive on H1-4 at 16:15. We had heard that a pride of nine lions had been seen 12 km from camp. We didn’t think that we would see anything but when we arrived at the scene there were quite a few cars parked, so clearly the lions were still in residence. Cathy and Alec decided not to stay to look at inactive lions but the Earl and I had found a reasonable spot with a view. We waited a while to see if anything happened. At first we saw nothing. Then while scanning in the distance I spotted one who obligingly raised her head.

Peek a boo – I see you

After a while more bagan to stir and the Earl got some lovely shots.

Hey – do you see the fans over there?
I bet they want us to come over to sign autographs
Not a chance – I’m staying here with you
Hi Leo – You awake now too? Yes, What’s going on?
Ha ha – it’s time for them to go back to camp – we’re not going to get up till much later!

So the cats did not get up and walk toward us and it was our turn to do supper. We had to get back to camp. On the way there we saw very little but on the way back everybody was out to play including a huge herd of buffalo. Be careful, buffs, you might be on the lion’s menu tonight!

It was a great way to end our day.

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 30 Satara to Nhlanguleni Picnic Site

Tuesday 24 August 2021

We had a very interesting day today. We left camp at 07:45 and followed the H1-3 before turning down to check out the Nkaya Dam. Then we followed the S33 and S36 to Nhlangulela Picnic Site. Our return took us along the S36, S125 including the Nwaswitsontso loop then back onto the H1-3 reaching camp at 12:55.

Swainson’s Spurfowl were everywhere as usual.
This little Steenbok decided to nap right next to the road
What a pretty girl you are
Magpie Shrikes are common in the park but always lovely to see settled in a tree

We were delighted at what we saw when we arrived at Nkaya Dam. It was clearly the right time of day to be there as a variety of creatures were taking the waters. Our cameras did not stop clicking and choosing which to post in today’s report was quite challenging. Sometimes it’s the little things that give us the most pleasure. Of course it is thrilling to see the big five but watching animals and birds interacting at the waterhole is just priceless.

First the impala came to play and drink
Then the zebra appeared on the scene
The kudu also thought it was time for a drink
Zebra, Impala and kudu sharing a drink
Warthogs were not shy to join in
An amazing waterhole scene
And another
Lovely time for warthogs
Hey guys – Isn’t this a fabulous pub.
Hi Guys – Thanks for sharing with me

There was a lot of coming and going and plenty of greeting and mingling.

A Go-away bird surveyed the scene
Zebra enjoying a drink
Stripy Faces
Lets share this patch
The drinks are good here
This is so good
Come and have a drink with me
I love this place – the French food on the menu is delicious

After enjoying our time at the waterhole we continued on and enjoyed the usual creatures but the next highlight was on the S36 just before Lugmag Dam.

Sable are not often seen so we were thrilled to get them in among the trees

We stopped for coffee at Nhlanguleni Picnic Site where there is a waterhole. Some impala were having a drink.

The best kind of roadblock to end the drive

Breaking Free From Lockdown. Day 29

Monday 23 August 2021

Today we did quite a long morning drive. We started on the H1-4 then did the S89, S90 and S41, before returning to Satara via the S100. We saw a lovely variety of birds and animals. I am posting the highlights and letting the photos tell their own story today.

Our first Burchell’s Coucal of the day. Several of his friends turned up to say hello during the course of our drive
This sleepyhead would not look at us
So Cathy took a close-up
This usually shy steenbok is not afraid of anyone
Uh oh, Road Block
Keeping company with the stripy ones
Cathy’s nick-name for giraffe – “Raafies”
These leaves are delicious
A call from Alec on the walkie talkie alerted us to a big surprise
This guy has huge tusks
I want to be a tusker!
A Tawny Eagle posed obligingly
A juvenile bateleur enjoying a meal
He gave the Earl a hard stare
Lots of elephants on the S100
Don’t worry, I won’t chase you today
Wildebeest were on the march

We arrived back at camp at 13:30. After doing camp chores and having a rest, Cathy and Alec went for a short drive at 16:00, but the Earl and I decided to stay in camp. They returned after an hour to say we hadn’t missed much except for some lovely hippo.

Just flying in to see how you are.
Our camp at sunset
The sun dropping off to sleep

Breaking Free From Lockdown. Day 28 Satara to Timbavati Picnic Site

Apologies for being missing in action for the past two days. The internet at Satara is not that great at the best of times but for the past two days it has been down completely. I will try to catch up as quickly as possible.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Today’s weather was not very pleasant.   It was overcast, windy and cold.   All dressed up in jeans and jerseys we left camp at 07:50 with the Everest in the lead.  We started our drive on the H1-4.  

The first excitement of the day came in the form of two very large birds.

“Oh – look – a Secretary Bird!   Two Secretary birds!”  Then one took off and flew to the other side of the road.  We could not see it but Cathy and Alec could.    

The Earl’s photo
Cathy’s photo

Then just after that another member of the Big Six birds of Kruger National Park made an appearance.

The Heaviest flying bird in the world is the Kori Bustard
Males can weigh up to 19kg

The Big Six Birds to seek are Pel’s Fishing Owl, Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill, Secretary Bird, Martial Eagle and Saddle-billed Stork.  We have seen five of the six this trip and there is little chance of getting the elusive Pel’s!

At 08:25 we turned onto the Ntomeni Road. As we were looking in the trees for birds the Earl stopped when he saw one that looked familiar. “What’s that,” he asked.  “It looks different to the lilac-breasted roller.”  And it was indeed a cousin, but even in the dull light the Earl noticed something was not quite right.

Purple Roller

We then followed the S40 toward Timbavati Picnic Site. Just before the turnoff we came to the bridge that crosses the river.  A few cars were stationary on the bridge and on the other side.  And for good reason.  Lions had made a kill and were busy with buffalo for breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Ready for an after breakfast nap

We managed to get a few photos and then went to the Timbavati where we planned to cook our own breakfast but the wind was gusty and it was very cold so we just had coffee and then returned to the lions before continuing.

I’ve had enough
Still hungry
Timbavati is an unfenced picnic site kept beautifully by a caretaker. In good weather it is lovely to picnic here. It has a good view over the Timbavati River

We followed the S39 and stopped at Ratel Hide but there was not much going on there.  However, we enjoyed watching a crake and Cathy managed to get a photo of a three-banded plover.

I know I am a handsome chap

Back on the road we stopped from time to time to photograph those creatures who would oblige. Some helmet-shrikes flew into a tree and one kindly perched in a suitable position for just the right enough of time to snap his portrait.

Well hello there

Looking down from an omrit overlooking the river we saw a lovely riverside scene.

Yellow-billed Storks and Grey Heron
Lazing by the riverside

There were plenty of impies about.

We like doing things together

At 11:15 we turned onto the  H1-4 and continued to see more creatures

Buffalo looking curious
I’m tired of leaves, think I’ll try some dry grass

Back at camp we made scrambled eggs for brunch, had a rest and then went back for a drive on the S100. We saw herds of zebra, wildebeest and waterbuck but we dipped on the lions that are often found on this road.

Two species in one tree – Lilac-breasted roller and glossy starling
A road block

And to end, a lovely Emerald-spotted Wood Dove.

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 27 Satara

Saturday 21 August 2021

I woke up at quarter to five this morning.  It was dark and still and as I was unable to blog due to internet problems last night I quietly booted up my laptop desperately hoping that I would not wake the Earl  He slept on.  I was done by six and as I started getting up I heard the pitter patter of raindrops on the caravan roof.   Uh oh how would this affect our day?   It did not last long and I was able to get to the bathroom without getting wet.  

Everybody was ready to leave for our game drive  at quarter past seven. It was very overcast and drizzly and the temperature was 17 degrees C.  We went in tandem with Cathy and Alec and drove to Tshokwane for breakfast then did Orpen Dam before travelling back on the H10, S 32,S35, S37 visited Sweni Hide and N’wanetzi Picnic site and then home via the H6 and H1-3

H1-3 7:15 to 9:15

With the weather being overcast and chilly with a spit and a spot of rain it was not surprising that most of the creatures kept a low profile.  Those who did dain to appear were not easy to photograph in the poor light.  However, with three of us taking photographs we managed to persuade some of them to pose.

The first birds to make an appearance were white-crested helmetshrikes. These birds tend to fly in an cohesive group from tree to tree.   You see them quite clearly but then they disappear into the foliage.   One of them politely posed for me in a dead tree.

White-crested Helmetshrike

Elephants are more willing than birds to have their portraits taken.  Several showed up this morning and they were all very polite and did not mess with us once.   Perhaps the misty cool, misty weather put th

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 26 Satara

Friday 20 August 2021

The weather today was cool and overcast starting at 13 degrees C and going up to 24 degrees C. The Earl and I left at seven o’clock. Cathy and Alec left a little later and did a different route.

We haven’t seen many warthogs this trip but today on the H6 they appaeared to greet us.

Warties getting close to their food

Next we came across a gorgeous giraffe walking in the veld and noticed a fork-tailed drongo close at his heels. When he stopped to look at us the drogo waited patiently in a tree. The clever bird knew that Gandolf Giraffe would disturb more grasshoppers for him to catch soon.

There was not much besides some hippo and a fish eagle at Nesamani Dam

A fish eagle at Nesamani Dam

On the S 40 we found more creatures

We waited for the impala roadblock to clear
The Earl took a lovely close-up
Another giraffe with a following drongo The giraffe is scratching his neck on a branch
Mom and Baby Elephant
Brown Snake-eagle all puffed up

There were also quite a few male kudu travelling together

Two very handsome lads
A twist of horns

The S100 was unusually quiet but we found lots of waterbuck and some birds most of whom refused to pose.

Black-backed Puffback
Southern Black Tit

After our morning drive we returned to camp and compared notes with Alec and Cathy over a lovely breakfast cooked by the Earl. They had been on the S 40 too but went a little further than we did and found Wild Dog!

A gathering of dogs
Off to hunt an impala
When a dog’s gotta go A dog’s gotta go

Other morning highlights

Burchell’s Coucal
White-hooded Vulture
Immature Bateleur

In the afternoon we also left at different times and did slightly different routes but met up on the S100.

Crossing a weir we found a skulking Black Crake
There were two adult ground hornbills with an immature on the S90
Female Double-banded sandgrouse
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Warthog escaping the camera

Our final sighting on the S100 was a lion. He caused a huge traffic jam but refused to greet the tourists. We weaved our way through as soon as we could. Cathy got the best photograph.

Not waking up for anybody!

Breaking Free from Lockdown. Day 25 Letaba to Satara

As I dropped off to sleep last night I heard the gruntings and snortings of hippo grazing in the grasslands next to the fence of campsite six where our Gecko caravans were parked. It was a lovely lullaby to doze off too. But a few hours later the incredibly loud shrieking laughter of a spotted hyaena jerked me from my slumbers. And they say the city is noisy! Well, these sounds are preferable to the shrill of police sirens, the angry hooting of cars, and the bee baa bee baa of ambulances racing to some horrible accident scene. I checked the time to find there were still a few hours to sunrise and I soon dropped off again. It was just before six when the sound of the neighbour’s car alarm awoke me. Oh dear, even in the bush civilization creeps in.

The Earl awoke too and was eager to get packed up and on the road to our next destination. “Hurry, hurry,” he said. “We must get to Satara. The “Early” bird gets the best spot!” By Ten to Seven we were packed up and ready to go. “Go work your magic,” said Alec. “Get us a good caravan site! You can do it!” Oh, the pressure, Alec, the pressure!

The Earl using the Power Touch Movers to maneuver the caravan onto the tow-hitch

“We’re not stopping for anything!” said the Earl as we drove down the H1-5, and for several kilometers, there was not a thing to be spotted among the Mopani trees.
We were slightly delayed when we saw some cars up ahead looking into the mess of Mopani. We came alongside one of the cars and asked, “What have you seen?”

“Wild Dog,” came the reply and pointed but we couldn’t see anything. Other cars were reversing to where they probably were but of course, that was not an option with the caravan in tow so we carried on.

It was an hour before we hit our first roadblock. “You’re going to have to stop,” I teased. “Guineafowl crossing the road” What funny creatures they are. Although they’re perfectly capable of flying they prefer to walk and we have seen huge flocks of them strutting about the park.

Guineafowl Road Sense

When the H1-5 changed to the H1-4 the mopane trees started to thin out and the vegetation changed to grass and scattered trees. No more mopane trees limiting our view to 25 cm into the bush!

Baboons entertained us on the Olifants bridge. We weaved our way through them and the traffic and did not stop to look for waterbirds or any other creatures that might be about. We just snapped the baboons and continued our race to Satara. After all, the pressure was on. Get to Satara – find a camp spot. I’d checked the website the night before to see how booked up it was – no vacancies in the campsite at all!

The gang on an early morning walk
Really, baby, I don’t know how you get your fur into such a state@
Hold tight, little one, Mommy needs her hands for walking.

“What now?” the Earl was in a panic. “Seven cars stopping for zebra?” Only one was crossing the road so the Earl started to pass the line of stationary cars.

“I’m sure they’ve spotted something else,” I said. And a second later – “Stop! Leopard!” I saw a beautiful leopard lying in the grass. The Earl edged forward so I could look back through a gap. The leopard had already stood up and was walking off into the bush. “Too late,” I cried. “He’s gone!” But I saw him – and he was wonderful.

Hey Leopold, the other day you promised to pose for us properly.
That promise was for Cathy and Alec – not you. See ya!

From then on we saw more and more game. The open plains revealed the creatures of the Kruger National Park in large numbers. What a change it was from the north. We saw elephants, buffalo, impala, zebra and wildebeest, and of course, the elegant giraffe. “We’re not stopping for photos,” said The Earl. “Time is running out. We have to get that special site!” But he did indulge me for just a few. Alec and Cathy were a little way behind us and took photos too.

Always lovely to see
Huge herd of buffalo
Curious about the tourists
Some lovely zebra
Wonderful WIldebeest

We arrived at Satara at five minutes past nine and found the campground was pretty full. At first, it looked like no perimeter spots were available so we drove around looking for good shade, near the ablution block, close to the camp kitchen and not on top of other campers. Then right in the left-hand corner of the park, we found a vacant perimeter site!

“It’s too small,” I said. “Two caravans can’t fit here!’

“Of course they can,” the Earl replied. “With movers anything is possible.” We got out of the car and examined the site. Yes, it would do. I had shade. It was not far from the ablutions and both caravans could certainly fit comfortably. Our right-hand neighbour welcomed us with, “Isn’t this a lovely spot.” “Yes,” I replied. “Has it just been vacated?”
“No, they left a few hours ago. But look, you’re just in time. Here comes another caravan seeking a spot. Lucky indeed! The other caravan had to settle for a site without shade on the other side of our left-hand neighbour.

We were just starting to set up when Cathy and Alec arrived. “Wow,” said Alec. “You’ve worked your magic again. This is a fabulous site!” Phew – we did it!

Our lovely campsite

Once we’d set up and settled in we went to the restaurant for breakfast. By midday, the temperature was well in the thirties. Cathy and Alec decided to do a short late-afternoon drive on the Orpen Road while the Earl and I left a little earlier and did a longer route that included a visit to Sweni Hide and the S100.

On the H1-3 we crossed a bridge and spotted some ellies enjoying a drink in the river.

We then took the H6 and stopped when I spotted two kori bustards. One of them posed quite nicely.

Then just ahead a car was stopped and when we came up to them they pointed to a baby hyaena resting under a shady bush. There was no sign of Mom or any other of the clan.

I don’t think he’s lost. Mom is probably hiding somewhere nearby

Next, we took the S37 and stopped at Sweni Hide. This is one of my favourite hides in the park as it is very pretty and usually produces something interesting to see. Today I was not disappointed.

At four o’clock we made our way to the S100 for the final leg home.

Some pink-eared kudu
Very sweet

Our last bird of the day was very special.

Red-breasted swallow

Earl got a lovely shot of the sunset as we neared home.

Cathy and Alec also had some lovely sightings on their drive. I am particularly jealous of Cathy’s amazing Pearl-spotted Owlet

Pearl-spotted Owlet
I just love this giraffe in the mirror photo!
It’s a very long neck to groom you know – Many beaks make light work
A Leopard Tortoise made them wait a very long time as he slowly crossed the road.

Cathy and Alec arrived back a few minutes before we did and Cath took a lovely sunset photo

Supper tonight was a delicious spaghetti bolognese cooked by Cathy. After a very hot day the wind got up slightly and it may rain tonight. While we enjoyed our meal in the cool of the evening a stealthy hyaena patrolled past the fence.

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