Tag Archives: Cape Painted Dog

Gecko Goes to Kruger – An Exciting Ride From Berg en Dal to Lower Sabi via Skukuza.

7 December 2019

The dawn chorus woke us well before it was actually dawn this morning.  Going back to sleep was impossible so we packed up and were on the road with Gecko in tow by quarter to five. It was going to be a long drive as we would start on the S110 then take the H3 tar road to Skukuza and have breakfast there before taking the H4-1 to Lower Sabie.

One does not expect to have too much excitement on the tar road especially when one is towing a caravan!  But today all the animals came out to play.

Just minutes after exiting Berg en Dal we saw a car stopped up ahead.  “We see a lion! – Under that tree,” said the little girl in the back seat.  And sure enough, but a fair distance away, sat a male lion staring with big eyes.  Because of the caravan and not wanting to spoil their view we rode on.

Not long afterwards, still on the S110, we saw this.

IMG_7205 Wild dog up ahead 2019-12-07 5-41-35 AM

I woke up this morning with a strong feeling that we would see African Wild Dog today!  They’re also known as Cape Hunting Dog or Cape Painted Dog

Wild Dogs are endangered and they are carefully monitored in the Kruger National Park.

IMG_7210 Wild dog looking for one of his pack 2019-12-07 5-42-16 AM

This animal is collared so his movements can be monitored. This is probably the Alpha male. He is looking into the bush and waiting for a straggler from his pack

IMG_7216 Wild Dog 2019-12-07 5-43-04 AM

Another worried member waiting for the straggler


I’m coming – don’t worry!

There were three or four cars slowly following the dogs but we managed to overtake and go past the animals so that everybody could have a good sighting.   It also gave me the chance to look back and aim my camera at the running dogs.

IMG_7229 Wild Dogs running 2019-12-07 5-44-11 AM

Let’s have a race!

IMG_7245 Fun Loving Wild Dogs 2019-12-07 5-45-06 AM

Come on Pack, enough of the high jinks.  Let’s get away from these nosy tourists!

Wow – what a great start to our morning!

We missed getting a photograph of the first lion but on the H3 a car up ahead stopped. As we approached we saw the lion walking on the road.  She then went into the bush and we could see her but she was not photographable.  The Earl got a bum shot which is not worth posting.  We couldn’t hang around to see if she would emerge as more cars arrived from both directions and we didn’t want to get caught in the mess.

Not long after that – you’ve guessed it – more lions!   This time there were several young cubs of various ages.  They’d been left alone while the mothers went hunting we presume. One lay on the road while others were spread out in the grass and under the trees.

IMG_7249 lion cubs 2019-12-07 6-29-59 AM

The older ones were babysitting

IMG_7256 Lion cubs one on road two under bush 2019-12-07 6-30-47 AM

The little ones were very obedient

IMG_7257 Lioness 2019-12-07 6-31-00 AM

When’s Mommy coming home – I’m hungry!

We continued on and found the birds were enjoying the early morning sun.  The Lilac-breasted roller is very common in Kruger but still very pretty.

IMG_7270 Lilac-breasted Roller 2019-12-07 7-24-60

Lilac-breasted Roller

IMG_7271 Lilac breasted roller in flight 2019-12-07 7-25-00 AM

I’m outa here!

Sensitive viewers, please skip the next two pictures!  A car up ahead of us stopped and we looked into the bush to see what they had spotted.  But the front passenger pointed downward from her window and then they drove off.

I saw a snake – a puff adder I think – wriggling his tail like mad but not moving forward.  On closer observation, I saw why.

IMG_7279 Snake on raod devouring a frog 2019-12-07 7-29-19

He had a frog in his mouth and was trying to ingest it!

IMG_7276 Snake eating frog 2019-12-07 7-29-7

Sorry can’t chat now – I have a frog in my throat!

It was soon after this that we arrived at Skukuza.  We parked the Everest and Gecko at the caravan park and walked to the restaurant to have our own breakfast which was a lot more appetising than frog!

I have to say that The Cattle Baron at Skukuza is awesome.  We sat on the deck with a wonderful view over the Sabie River and ordered The Sunrise which was less than R50,00.  The Earl had a cappuccino and I had a black Americano.  I’m fussy about coffee and I had no complaints.  The sunrise consists of two eggs, two slices of bacon, a potato rosti a grilled tomato and toast. You can choose to have your eggs any style and we both asked for scrambled.  When it arrived I could not believe how much food was on my plate – three large slices of bacon instead of two and I am sure you can’t get that much scramble out of two eggs!   It was awesome. I told the waiter that I had a complaint.  “I ordered two slices of bacon and I got three!”

“I like your complaint,” he said with a look of relief on his face!

IMG_7288 Giant Kingfisher 2019-12-07 8-16-06 AM.JPG

Giant Kingfisher was seen at breakfast time

We continued on to Lower Sabie and had some lovely sightings.

IMG_7303 Fish Eagle 2019-12-07 9-13-36 AM

Fish Eagle in a tree next to the river

IMG_7317 Elephants 2019-12-07 9-32-24 AM

Quite a few elephants including these two

IMG_7320 Lions 2019-12-07 9-59-24 AM

And another pride of lions!

The sky began to cloud over as we arrived at Lower Sabie but it was still very hot.  We set up camp and then had a rest before going out again.   There was a light drizzle all afternoon.

We had some lovely sightings of elephant and buffalo and other animals but the birding was particularly good.

IMG_7325 Levaillant's Cuckoo 2019-12-07 2-13-56 PM

Levaillan’ts Cuckoo

IMG_7349 Red-breasted Swallow 2019-12-07 3-14-48 PM

Red-breasted Swallow

We have been seeing the Red-crested Korhaan frequently but the Black-bellied Bustard only revealed himself to us today.  He looks similar but has a longer neck and is taller in stature.

IMG_7364 Black-bellied bustard 2019-12-07 3-52-53 PM

We were thrilled to add Black-bellied Bustard to our Kruger list for 2019


Woolly-necked Storks were also new for this trip

I have been trying all holiday to get the Red-faced Mousebird to pose for me and today he sat still beautifully for the Earl.


P1190211 Red-faced Mousebird 2019-12-07 2-39-32 PM

Thanks for not hiding today, Mr Mousebird

It was quite a thrill to see this family cross the road in front of us

IMG_7340 Shelley's Francolin Family 2019-12-07 3-00-57 PM

They are not commonly seen

IMG_7341 Shelley's Francolins 2019-12-07 3-00-59 PM

Shelley’s Francolin is an uncommon resident of the area

IMG_7343 Shelley's Francolin 2019-12-07 3-01-04 PM

I hope I have identified you correctly!

IMG_7457 Lower Sabie Campsite 2019-12-07 6-16-21 PM.JPG

In spite of the rain, we were able to make a fire and braai in the evening.