Satara to Olifants

We decided to wake up at 6am this morning for a slightly later morning drive. We did the same as we had done the previous morning and headed for the dam (where we saw the lions the previous day) but no lions to be seen. On route we did see a lifer for me though – Harlequin Quail. Pretty much impossible to spot because it is the same colour as the grass but Michael somehow managed to see it and we were able to positively ID it as well.  The rest of the drive was up to the other dam in the area (for coffee/tea & rusks) and then back again.  We saw the usual game – kudu; impala; giraffe; waterbuck etc but nothing much else.

We had to check out by 10am and so after breakfast at Satara we packed up and headed north to Olifants. It was already pretty hot at 9:30am (nearing 30 degrees) and so most of the animals were already finding shelter under the trees.  We still saw a lot of game on the way up to Olifants including a huge herd of wildebeest and impala (together – must have been about 200 impala and close to 100 wildebeest); plenty of zebra and kudu; a smattering of giraffe, waterbuck, steenbok etc.

The highlight of the drive was at Ngotso North dam. We stopped (as we usually do) to see what we could see at the dam and noticed a small herd of impala standing very still and all looking in same direction. I said to Michael they wouldn’t do that unless they saw a threat. He tried to dismiss me but I insisted there must be something around. So he took me seriously (fortunately) and scanned the direction they were looking in with his binoculars and sure enough under a tree he spotted a lion! There is nothing better than spotting something like this yourself and not relying on other people spotting it for you and you just having it pointed out.  And we were proud of ourselves for seeing the signpost the impala’s gave us! It turned out to be one male lion and a lioness with him. We probably watched for around 30 minutes and the male got up and adjusted his position but nothing much. The impala alarm called, kept watching, drank a bit from the water and wondered off. The lion weren’t interested in them. Too hot. What amazed me is that a lot of people came past and didn’t even stop to ask what we were watching! In fact many people were driving with their windows closed even – how can you do that in the Kruger – it’s a sin!

We got to Olifants around lunchtime and as we could only check in at 2pm we went and had some lunch, admired the view from the camp over the river, did some shopping and then at 1:45pm hoped they would let us check in (and they did).  We have a fantastic hut here with a view of the Olifants river.  You couldn’t really ask for a better view.  Just sitting outside looking over the river we added 5 birds to the trip list.

We went for a late afternoon drive but it was pretty hot (well over 30 degrees) and we hardly saw any game at all (waterbuck, herd of elephants and impala).  Braai for dinner (pork strips & borewors) with sweet potato; potato and ratatouille (made by Michael). Pretty nice dinner again if we say so ourselves.

Until tomorrow …

P & M

PS: This sunset is for you Helen!

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