Friday, 1st December DAY 17

We are at the gate at 4.25am and it is already open and the cars gone. We turn right for Nwatimhiri and pass a car inspecting Sunset Dam. Thereafter the road is ours and we make quick progress up to the turnoff, at one stage momentarily seeing a serval which ducks back into the grass.

If there is one road that typifies Kruger then it must be Nwatimhiri (S21). Such a beautiful mix of grass and woodland which, in the early morning sunrise, is just magnificent.

We slowly make our way along without seeing too much before coming to that little rocky koppie on the left.

Hidden in the grass right next to the road are three lionesses with about six cubs. Every now and then a curious cub would expose itself enabling me to take the odd photo. Kruger lions are often scruffy but not this lot which are fluffy and healthy.

We find that four hours is about our limit before the concentration begins to waver so after having thoroughly enjoyed our morning, we do an about turn and head back to Lower Sabie arriving at 8.30am. I then shoot down to the Bat Hawk and find him again in his same tree. Really a creature of habit.

Today is a hotty so the air con gets going. We are camped underneath an Umbrella Tree which is very attractively flowering at the moment. A quick braai and then we head for the swimming pool – such a refuge on a hot day in the bushveld.

We go out after 4pm with some heavy thundery clouds to the west. We go up the tarred road (H10) towards Muntshe noting our Bat Hawk snoozing peacefully on his same branch.

The clouds cover the sun for a while but just past the Mlondozi Dam turnoff and whilst I am photographing a Black-shouldered Kite a shaft of light pours through transforming what was a rather drab picture.

Word has it from a passing motorist that there are cheetah along the road behind us so we turn and hurry there. We arrive just in time to see these most beautiful animals expose themselves in some lovely evening sunlight.

Whilst watching the cheetah Renette notices this very attractive Spotted Dikkop (I cannot bring myself to call it a Thick-knees) in the foreground.

Whilst watching it, a serval breaks cover and dashes away without the cheetah seeing it. We see it disappearing into the distance at high speed.

And so ends another magnificent day in Kruger. What happiness.