13 July Satara 175388
We left camp at 6:35 and the temperature was 10 degrees C. It rose to 28 later in the day.
As we turned onto the S100 we saw a car facing toward us driving very slowly. The driver waved us down and she was very excited. “Die luiperd is hier. Hy was nou op die pad.” (The leopard was here. It was just on the road.) She was the only other car and she pointed into the bush. Peter, Earl and I caught sight of him and then he disappeared. Not a fantastic sighting and no photograph but a leopard nevertheless. Peter told us we were now off the hook! He’d seen his leopard!
Coucals seem to be having a convention in the park this holiday as we keep seeing them.
Two wooly necked storks were next to capture our attention and straight after we were amused to find a saddle-bill at the top of a tree.
Then onto the H6 where there were zebra and other game to observe.
At 9:10 Peter alerted us to a traffic jam. We found a gap and after much talking at once managed to show Pete where the female was hiding behind a bush. Moving a little ahead we managed to get a good sighting of 2 cubs and then the mom got up and took them off into the bush.
We returned to Satara and Earl cooked us breakfast, we had a bit of a break and then went out again at midday with the intention of going to Sweni Water Hole. Right outside the camp on the H3 we found 3 adult and 2 juvenile Ground Hornbills.
Once again we spotted the usual game and then we were alerted to lion by another tourist coming in the opposite direction.
It was quite far off but we all got good sightings of her before she dropped down and disappeared into the long straw for an afternoon nap. No one would know she was there!
The Sweni Waterhole has changed since our last visit. There is now a road going right down to the river and you can sit there and watch the river before entering the hide. We found it most productive and found jacanas, kingfishers, crakes, moorhen and green backed herons. We spent a long time watching before going into the hide.
After enjoying the crocodiles and terrapin, more activity from the green backed heron and jacanas we were entertained with a love scene from the Jacanas.
We saw four different species of kingfisher in the hour or so that we spent at this spot. We watched the giant and the pied catch fish. The little malachite didn’t have much luck and the brown hooded simply posed beautifully for us when we exited the hide.
On the last leg of our drive back to camp we had a few more interesting sightings. A lovely pearl spotted owls which Earl spotted and reversed to check if he was right.
Burchell’s Sandgrouse, male and female.
Another stunning brown-hooded kingfisher.
An finally elephant and drinking and a hippo and baby on the bank of the river.
All day I’d been battling with my back which decided to rebel against the constant sitting and little exercise. Because of our early starts to the day I even neglected to do my Big Five exercises which my Witch Doctor insists upon. I did some stretches on our return home. I hope a good night’s rest will sort my out by morning.