17 July Lower Sabie
The day started with a stop at Sunset Dam. Aunt was trying to Skype me and I managed to get through to her. how amazing that I was able to chat to her in Australia and show her the dam on Skype!
After spending 20 minutes there we followed the tar road and soon spotted vultures flying and landing in the trees at the side of the road where a small group of cars were stopped and looking towards the river. We realised that they were looking at a hippo kill and a male lion was guarding it. As the cars moved off we were able to get into a better position and get a reasonable photograph. It was great though to see a variety of different vultures. the smell was pretty awful so we didn’t stay long. we gave up our position to a young family who came toward us.
Earl got some lovely shots.
At an omrit to the river I spotted a beautiful bird which turned out to be a little bee-eater although I was hoping for a bush shrike.
We stopped at Nkulhu for breakfast and had boerwors rolls and coffee.
The monkeys and baboons were misbehaving and we saw monkey take a packet of marshmallows from a family wanting them for their hot chocolate
Baboons also cheekily raided the table of an older family group and scared one of the women half to death.
As it was our last full day in the park we decided to take the long route via Skukuza in the hope of finding a leopard.
We found many interesting birds and creatures but there were also long stretches of nothing. On the H4-1 it was great to find a male bush buck.
A single rhino lay asleep under a tree next to Renoster Pan.
On the N’watimhin Road just before it joins the S79 there is an afrit to a small puddle of a dam. But what a lot there was happening there. we found wooly necked storks, a hamerkop or two, a jacana, grey heron and a brown hooded kingfisher actively hunting for food. A big male baboon sat at the edge of the pond with his back to us.
After enjoying watching frogs and fish being caught by the storks and heron we were about to start the car and head off. But I called, “Elephant” and a single bull lumbered upon the scene. We thought he would take a drink from the end where he’d appeared but he circled round the edge chasing off the smaller creatures in his way. He came straight for us and proceeded to frittle about in a muddy patch. It was fascinating watching this giant give himself a muddy beauty treatment. First he picked up a piece of litter with his trunk but finding it useless blew it away. Then he sprayed himself with gooey mud; eyes included. This ritual took about 20 minutes before he stared straight at us, waved his trunk and lumbered off into the bush. This interlude was one of the best experiences I have ever had in Kruger.
We were quite breathless after this little escapade and reluctantly left the scene and made our way slowly back to camp. On the way we saw a few more interesting things.
Just before reaching home we were alerted to lions across the river – quite far away but nice to see.
And that Folks is the end of our tale. We left the following morning and made our way back to Cape Town stopping over in Bloemfontein and getting to Cape Town at 5 on Saturday evening. It was an amazing trip!