Shingwedzi Day 1
February 1, 2020

We were up at 5:15am as the gates now only open at 5:30am since we have moved into February. Our plan was to drive my favorite road in the Kruger – north from Shingwedzi along the river. We have seen everything there is to see in the Kruger on that road and so we had high expectations again today as we set off.

The road yielded a lot of game but unfortunately we only saw hyena this morning when it comes to predators. It was 24 degrees when we set off and when we got back at 9:15am it was already 31 degrees. It was clear it was going to be a scorcher of a day. We went out again for late afternoon game drive and it was a ridiculous 40 degrees when we left and the temperature rose to 43 degrees when we were out! As you can imagine even the animals were lethargic and definitely no signs of predators in that heat. They were under a tree somewhere taking a nap. Our birding list continues to grow and now stands at 77. I am sure it will grow more over the next few days especially as we are spending some time birding on the morning game drives now.

The most excitement today all happened in the camp actually. Midday H & I went to the river (camp overlooks the river) and we saw a waterbuck with a broken leg. First time I have seen that in a game park that I can recall. I guess she won’t last long as she really is prime game for a predator. The front left leg was flapping around though she still managed to limp to the water and we even saw her run on 3 legs at one point. But I still can’t imagine she will last long.

The other excitement happened with vervet monkeys. They are a genuine pest in the camp because they have figured out guests have food and even know how to open doors and fridges. I am pretty vigilant when I see them around. I had just started the fire tonight when a troop of them made their way through the camp. One of them jumped onto the sill and looked at himself in the window for about 5 minutes – pretty vain I know! That same one then wandered over the tree and looked confused at to how to climb the tree. The tree was right next to my braai. I went to take a swig of my Kudu lager and when I turned around the monkey was grasping into the fire and found the potato I had put in there and ran off with it! It must have seen H throw me the potato (wrapped in foil) and it must know that means food. It couldn’t even see up to the level of the braai so it just put it’s hand in and felt around (amongst the coals!) to find the foil and then grabbed it and ran. This all happened in a matter of seconds while I was taking a swig on my beer! Fortunately we have sufficient potatoes that it could be replaced and I was more vigilant to ensure it didn’t steal that one as well!

Dinner tonight was rump steak salad … as good (if not better) than the ostrich steak salad. Only issue was that I was expiring from the heat. It is still over 30 degrees and it is 9:25pm! I am pretty sure I sweated off a few kgs today!

Nice relaxing day even though we didn’t see any of the big predators. We did still see a lot of game including a massive herd of buffalo. There is always something interesting to see and experience in the Kruger!

Until tomorrow …

P & H

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