Biyamithi weir is one of those places one can go to every day and never tire of it – such is its beauty. Today is our last day at Skukuza so, with a clear sky, we are heading there. At the gate at 4.25am and oh dear, we are number nine in the queue – unheard of on our trip so far. Even worse, at the four way crossing just outside camp, six of them go straight, towards Pretoriuskop. We trail miserably behind with another three cars behind us. Miraculously every single car heads straight past the gravel road to Stevenson-Hamilton and we have the road (S114) to ourselves.
Coffee at the Renoster water trough, just as the sun melts over the horizon – always a very special moment in Kruger.
Three sleepy rhino near the road reassure us that all is well with them and then a clan of hyena feeding off tit-bits from a carcass.
As we reach the weir, a Walburg’s Eagle in a tree is being dive bombed by a Drongo and there are birds aplenty enjoying the morning sun.
And then a very strange thing happens. The sky changes from clear to totally overcast in the space of 20 minutes without a breath of wind. Perhaps a geographer (Dave?) can explain this to me as the rising sun usually burns off the cloud. Photography is all about light and early morning light is the best so I am a little peeved by the turn of events. But there is always lots of action here.
The fish eagle foolishly returns to his tree and within two minutes is driven away by a furious assault from the nesting Blacksmith Lapwings. Kingfishers, geese, dikkops, weavers, wagtails and ducks are all active.
From the weir we again take the river road (S23) and creep back to camp without much to report on.
At lunchtime I go out to Lake Panic for a couple of hours and although there is nothing spectacular to be seen, it is always interesting.
More dive bombing – this time by a Pied Wagtail on a Green-backed Heron.
Late afternoon we take the route of the tyre chewing leopard. At the Afsaal junction (H1-1) , we stop for coffee at the koppies which always have klipspringers on the rocks. A tour bakkie stops and the cheery driver tells us that there are cheetah 4.7Km beyond the Transport Dam turnoff and he hurries off thither. I suppose it is good that these Big 5 hunting tourists get to see these special animals but the thought of jostling bakkies is too much and we turn back and continue along our planned route.
Of course, our leopard is lying low today. But folks, despite there being nothing exciting, it is the environment that is so enriching, the giraffe against a koppie, the korhaans, the pytillia (melbas), the impala lambs frolicking – all set in beautiful treed bushland. Another very pleasant day.