Yesterday Stephen and I had to drive from Satara down to Skukuza to collect Helen and Chloe who were arriving just before 1pm from Cape Town. We decided to start at about 6:30am and take a slow drive (it is about 100 kms) and have breakfast on route.
We didn’t see a huge amount again except a really good sighting of a hyena. It was on the side of the road and sniffing around, then would cross the road and then sniff around there and then back again. We probably watched it for about 10-15 minutes. It was clearly looking for the scent of something and couldn’t find it. When we first pulled up it was crunching through a bone as well and you could clear hear it. Incredible how powerful their jaws are. We did also see two more lifers (both water birds this time) at the dams on route to Skukuza. That took my lifer count up to 418 (Stephen saw 3 because he again saw one I had previously seen).
We had a late breakfast at a picnic stop as we headed south. We timed our trip pretty well as we got to the Skukuza area just before midday and so we did a trip over the Sand River, a small 4 km loop and then back to the airport. We had about 20 minutes at the airport to wait for the plane to arrive. Everything went smoothly and we collect Helen and Chloe and headed to Skukuza camp to buy some food for lunch and then check in.
We are staying at Skukuza for 2 nights. We have two chalets which sleep 3 people each. Very nicely done and even have DSTV (can watch the The Masters tonight). Only downside is that they are building right next door and seemingly it doesn’t matter that it is either Saturday or Sunday because as I type this I can having them banging away. Sort of destroys the peacefulness of the game park somewhat.
We went out for an evening game drive (heading south) but again unfortunately didn’t see much. I’m hoping that when Eagle Eye’s Michael arrives today we will start seeing everything. Still no rhino unfortunately and last time we saw so many we eventually weren’t even stopping for them at all. We are up to 85 birds for the trip though (with 5 lifers) so at least that has been pretty decent (didn’t expect to see 5 lifers).
The difference of having Helen here was evident in two things. Firstly, when we arrived the first night Stephen and I looked at each other and said ‘Who is going to unpack the food into the fridge?’ – that is clearly always Helen’s role. When we arrived at the chalet in Skukuza she started doing it immediately (without request) and she remarked that she is happy to do that rather than unpacking the car. Secondly, we had vegetables for dinner that weren’t cooked on the braai only (broccoli, onion, mushroom stir fry).
Looking forward to have Michael arrive today (he had a wedding to attend yesterday) so we have the whole family together for 4 nights.
P, S, H & C