Saturday, 2nd December DAY 18

One of the great joys of Lower Sabie is to sit at sunrise at Sunset Dam and watch the goings on. For photography one needs two things – clear early or late day sunlight and a glassy water surface for reflections. A quick look at 4.00am tells me that all is right and we only have to be there at 5.00am – sunrise. We leave camp at 4.45am but the south wind has got up and the water surface is badly rippled so – change of plan. We are going to head for Salietjie.

To make up for lost time, we make rapid progress to Mafourteen (S128) where we have our customary condensed milk coffee and then begin our crawl along this great road (S30).

If Nwatimhiri was good yesterday then Salietjie is even better today. It is in all its splendour at this time of the morning.

We meet three wild dog trotting towards and then past us.

At the little pond we find a beautiful male Knob-billed Duck (now sadly known as a Comb Duck) and I get some good shots of him. All along the road there is interest – warthogs interacting with hyena, wildebeest, zebra, impala – in fact non-stop action.

By the end of the road, despite seeing no cats, we agree that this is our best morning to date. Absolutely superb.

We then amble down the tarred Sabie river road (H4-1) with again bits of interest all the way. We are enjoying Lower Sabie far more than Skukuza I think because of its more desolate roads and its infinite variety.

This afternoon we go down to Duke (S137) but folks, Kruger is dry. Despite Skukuza getting a storm and some rain while we were there, Satara got nothing and Lower Sabie not much. The Duke water hole is bone dry. The European Rollers have suddenly arrived en masse after being absent up until now. The grass is short and we don’t see much so return to Sunset Dam and then go up the Mlondozi main road (H10).

The Bat Hawk is absent from his tree today and only a Steppe Buzzard livens up proceedings.