Big thunderstorm overnight and we woke up to a wet Kruger Park and very overcast and relatively cool conditions. We were up at 5:15am and out of the gate shortly after 5:30am. We headed out west and soon into the drive saw lots of wildlife including wildebeest, kudu, warthog, impala, zebra, giraffe and then a cackle of hyena (yes that is the correct collective noun but you can also call them a clan if you’re interested).
The hyena had a stick (more like a branch) and were breaking off pieces of it and eating it. All in the middle of the road. It reminded us why we find the Kruger Park so special. You might have seen the animals many times previously (as we have) but their antics are always interesting. Just this morning we saw two zebra fighting (we couldn’t recall seeing this previously), the hyena eating a thorn tree branch (definitely hadn’t see that before) and two white faced whistling ducks in the middle of the road (nowhere near water). Every time you come here you see something different.
We were a few kms down a dirt road when one of the Sanparks officials came up behind us and flashed their lights and told us that they were closing the dirt roads due to the flooding. We had to turn back (which we did) and so we spent the balance of the day driving only on the tar roads. Hopefully by tomorrow they will start to open some of the dirt roads if it doesn’t rain more tonight.
We got back to camp at around 9am and after breakfast we headed to the shop to buy some wine and beer. For the non-South Africans, we had prohibition until this morning at 10am. As you were even allowed to transport it we had arrived in KNP without any wine or beer. We met most of the rest of the people staying here also buying alcohol in the shop! The rest of the day was just spent resting in the camp (I had a few meetings and calls to make for business unfortunately). We did a walk around the camp and added a few birds onto our trip list.
At 3pm we headed out for our evening drive. We headed north this time knowing it would be out and back on the same road. It was an incredible birding drive. We realised at some point that we stopped looking for game and were just birding only. We saw 2 lifers (Montagu Harrier and Fan-tailed Widowbird) and by the end of the day we had seen 57 unique birds so far since we arrived. Given the weather conditions (overcast, windy and raining) you would not think they are great birding conditions so we are very happy with what we have seen so far,
We are hoping that the weather improves tomorrow (it is meant to still be raining/overcast the whole day). It doesn’t really matter – we are just glad to be here given the circumstances!
Until tomorrow …
P & H