January 23, 2019

We are staying at Olifants Rest Camp for 3 nights. It probably has the best view of any camp in the Kruger Park but unfortunately the game viewing around the camp isn’t great.  I last stayed here with Michael in October 2017 and we had the same experience. On all the drives we have done so far (morning and evening) we have only seen hyena by way of predators (and we did see hyena during both morning game drives). We have seen at least one of the big 5 every day since we arrived except so far we haven’t seen one this morning (but hopefully we will shortly when we go out this evening).

We have added to our trip birding list and are now up to 103 which is pretty good for 4 days. I have also added 2 more lifers (Spotted Flycatcher & Dusky Lark) while staying at Olifants. That takes me to 435 lifers now. Interestingly, we have seen 4 lifers this trip and 3 of them have been while we were in the camp. We saw the Spotted Flycatcher while sitting on the veranda of our hut this morning! In fact, without moving from the veranda we have seen bushbuck, baboon, waterbuck, elephant, crocodile, giraffe and impala.

We haven’t really felt we have needed to move much from the veranda or hut actually. Currently the temperature is 37 degrees C (3:45pm) and yesterday it was the same. My app says ‘Feels like 40’ … that’s pretty accurate. We also have the noisiest air-conditioner known to mankind.  It rattles, shakes, stutters … you name it, it does it. It generally only starts doing that at around 9pm just when you’re thinking about going to sleep. Right now it is purring but past that 9pm mark and it changes its demeanor.  Last night I woke up suddenly thinking we had been caught in the middle of a war, only to realise it was the aircon clanking its way through the night.

The park is relatively quiet in terms of visitors.  It seems the majority of the people visiting currently are foreigners. We seem to be magnets for them too. At Lower Sabie our neighbour (single German man), asked me what the weather prediction was going to be for next few days and then promptly proceeded to tell us his life story.  At one point Helen and I thought he was going to pour himself a drink and settle down with us for the evening! He told us that he has stopped bringing his girlfriends to the KNP after doing it twice and having them moan constantly after the spiders, bats etc.  He said one year he took the one back to Skukuza airport and told her to make her own way home 🙂

Last night the male of the neighbour species came over and asked what I was braaiing (lamb chops & wors) and then proceeded to tell me he was from Wales (not England – and how much he doesn’t like people confusing Wales and England), how often he comes to SA and then asked me for hints for driving around the Kruger (I’m a good person to ask in that regard). I see he followed my advice this morning (though he did stay out longer than us). I’m sure he will be over again tonight to admire my braaiing skills and check up on what we saw today. I may be kind and offer him some more tips.

Until tomorrow …

P & H

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