We left Satara today for Lower Sabie. Given the length of the drive and that you can only check in at 2pm, we decided to get up later than usual (6am) and after packing up we headed out. The drive was only 130 km but when you’re driving at 35km/h, it does take quite long. It was overcast the whole day but it never really rained at all (some very light drizzle at one point). That doesn’t mean it was cold – the temperature at 6am was 24 degrees C.
It was a great morning drive. We added leopard to our trip list. Once again, on the road. We saw what we thought was a hyena but it turned out to be a leopard squatting doing it’s business. It then walked on the road ahead of us, occasionally veering into the grass on the side of the road and then back again and then across the road onto the side. It did that for about 500 meters and then eventually went into the bush and just vanished. A reminder again about how much timing makes a difference. We were the only car when we first saw it though 2 other cars came up later and saw it as well. A fantastic sighting.
We stopped for a bush breakfast at Tshokwane (a picnic site on the road south). Very impressed with their approach to hygiene – everyone wears masks of the Sanparks staff and they were only operating an outside till point so that the staff can work in fresh air only. Tables are generally spread apart so you’re not sitting near anyone else.
We stopped at numerous waterholes on the way down south and added new birds to our list which is now up to 123 birds for the trip. We got to Skukuza (basically the capital of the KNP) at midday and with cellphone reception restored we heard that S & K (son and daughter-in-law) and B (friend) had landed at Nelspruit airport, had their car and were heading to do shopping. Unfortunately the best gate for them to enter (Crocodile Bridge) was closed as the Crocodile river was flooding and the bridge over the river was covered by the river. They had to enter at Malelane and drive up to Skukuza and down to Lower Sabie – a 3-4 hour drive but at least within the Kruger. They saw 4 of the big 5 on the way to the camp (only didn’t see leopard). We also have seen 4 of the Big 5 as we still haven’t seen buffalo despite being here for 6 days already.
We got to Lower Sabie at about 2:30pm and checked in and spent the afternoon and early evening spotting game from our accommodation. We have a view of the river that is just fantastic even from our bed! We have seen hippo feeding on the bank along with elephant while just lying on our bed.
SKB arrived just before 6pm. I had the braai going already by that point (we had ribs and chicken wings on the braai last night). Nice to have them arrive safely and to join us for the next week.
Until tomorrow …
P, H, S, K & B (she needs to earn her way off the bottom place)