Nancy Vandermey, Author|
South Africa Trip October/November 2013 part 5
I'm afraid Nov 7 does not get a single picture; we drove from De Aar to Nigel, saw guinea fowl, ostrich, and a few farmed antelope, checked into the Seldre Guesthouse, had a great dinner, a few drinks, and that was it!
Recap of Kruger itinerary:
8 November Berg En Dal
9 November Skukuza
10-12 November "Metsi-Metsi" walking trail (really Nwatimwambu Fly Camp)
13-14 November Lower Sabie safari tent
15-16 November Satara
17-19 November Sweni Trail
20-22 November Olifants
23-24 November Tamboti
25 November Biyamiti
November 8th was drive to Kruger Park day. We saw rhino at the Alzu gas station, some sort of tourist attraction - it was odd. We hit a few roadworks along the way, the worst stop-n-go only 30 km from Malelane. We shopped at the Super Spar and Tops (liquor store) and then headed to the gate.
Coming in over the Crocodile River, we had some great first sightings - elephants
And then in the park proper, impala
francolin ( I guess they're spurfowl now, but we called anything similar a francolin, when we weren't calling them ptarmigan)
white rhino (I'll drop the "white" from now on as we never saw any black ones)
and just outside the Berg En Dal gate, warthog
At Berg-En-Dal we had unit #79
We took the S120 Matjulu loop at 15:30, with guinea fowl
orange flowers (Lion's eye, (Tricliceras lacerate))
kudu, and other general game. The waterhole was quiet. Next up is S118, where we see our only parrot
the first of many gray lourie
and a first-ever for me, sable antelope!
Next is a rhino family
A gray duiker that sits still for a photo
And another rhino, then 3 more - in total we saw 10 rhino this drive
We set up our trail camera along the perimeter fence, catching a genet and bushbuck
On November 9th we were up at 4:05 am for the 4:30 gate opening time. It's still pretty dark out at 4:30, so we would use our spotlight for the first 15 minutes or so. We did catch a genet this way. We drove S114/S25, with 5 giraffe, some distant elephant and then - 6 wild dog! Both alphas had radio collars
We were the only car there for at least 45 minutes, and as we followed the pack at a respectful distance they got very comfortable with us, playing around our car.
KNP Video has 16 short clips, including these dogs, but you'll get ahead of the story if you watch it now!
At about 6 am two other cars finally came up behind us. We tried to tell them to hang back but they had to zoom right up and surround the dogs, who then promptly left the road. I hope they enjoyed their 30 second sighting, idiots.
A spotted hyena was running up the road just before the Mlambane river, but it left the road just after the crossing. We did see two more rhino in the riverbed.
Heading up S119 we found two bateleur eagles
and a hunting hammerkop
Then at the H3 bridge over the Mlambane was a malachite kingfisher
and a herd of buffalo at the Matjulu river
We headed down S110, catching the buffalo herd again
and went to the Matjulu waterhole again - this time, some cars stopped before the turnout gave away a male lion
KNP Video has 16 short clips, including this lion, which demonstrates the awesome zoom on the Canon SX50
Back to Berg En Dal, at least the checkout time here is 10 am, so our normal routine on moving day was to return at 9 to shower and pack. There were some cute zebra near camp
Next we took S114 to S25 again, this time with several elephant herds
and a crested barbet
We were told of two male lion up ahead - they were old boys, and hard to miss
The rest of S25 showed us skink
and another rhino
At the Biyamiti river there were distant waterbuck with elephant
and more leopard tortoise, somewhere on the S108 or H5.
On the tar road H4-2 to Lower Sabie, the more open fields revealed impala, zebra, warthog, and elephants. We came upon a huge car jam, explained by a distant leopard in a tree, which we dutifully took a picture of
A fish eagle was posing better, and closer to the road
We had lunch on the deck, watching turtles
and the pesky starlings
Heading north, another car jam, it was a difficult-to-see cheetah on the riverbank
And with that, we had the Big 7 all in one morning! Too bad it was our only cheetah sighting in Kruger, but dog fans stay tuned.
There were plenty more elephant, hippo, bushbuck, birds, and impala
There certainly was a lot more to see than in the Kgalagadi park, but we did appreciate the openness of the land there.
On the H12 we got a great snake sighting - we thought it was a small black mamba, but it's actually a female boomslang
We made sure it didn't get too close to the car. We found banded mongoose near one of the bridges
And a family of Egyptian geese in the river
We heard about lions on a kill about 20 km away, and decided to check it out first thing in the morning. At Skukuza we got the requested Lion cottage and enjoyed the view
On Sunday the 10th we were 3rd in line at 4:15. There was light rain off and on, it had started raining at midnight. On the S1 we saw a lone hyena
before reaching the kill site, just vultures around
We then drove S3/S1 loop, there were kudu and rhino and other stuff, but no photos that made the cut. We had our first jeep jockey experience with many safari trucks on the S1. Back at the bridge on the H12 we saw a group of male nyala
and then looped to the H1-2, with 4 spotted hyena at the junction
Seeing many baboon on the road, along with bushbuck and vervet monkeys, we thought there must be lions in the riverbed, but couldn't find any
Some male kudu sparring, and then back to shower and check out
After packing we went to Lake Panic, and the hide did not disappoint - it felt like the aviary at a zoo, there were so many birds there! Goliath heron with young, Black headed heron, gray heron, squacco heron, darters, black crake, dikkop, black mask weaver, jacana, fish eagle, crocodile
Back on the bridge were hadeda ibis
With red bill hornbill nearby
and pied kingfisher
Back to where we saw the baboons earlier - other cars helped point out 4 lions in the riverbed
We also saw a martial eagle
and more baboon
Part 1 - Planning and Kgalgadi: Twee Rivieren
Part 2 - Kgalgadi: Urikaruus and Kalahari Tented Camp
Part 3 - Kgalgadi: Nossob, Grootkolk, Mata Mata
Part 4 - Kgalgadi: Twee Rivieren and Black Footed Cat group
Part 5 - Kruger: Berg En Dal and Skukuza
Part 6 - Kruger: Nwatimwambu Walking Trail and Lower Sabie
Part 7 - Kruger: Satara
Part 8 - Kruger: Sweni Wilderness Trail
Part 9 - Kruger: Olifants
Part 10 - Kruger: Tamboti and Biyamiti
Part 11 - Notten's Bush Camp
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