Sunday, 3rd December DAY 19

We are fast running out of time at Lower Sabie as we return home on Tuesday. Before we go, we must do that most underrated road – that behind Muntshe mountain (S122). So at 4.30am we are out the gates and onto the main road heading north at a pace. Where the road (H10) reaches the lower slopes of Muntshe we find a scruffy lion snoozing in the road.

We reach the turn off just as the sun is rising and after our coffee, we begin our slow idle (S122). Bathed in beautiful golden morning light, these grasslands are a picture. But the short grass does not provide sufficient cover for the quails and francolin and we see none of them. Here’s hoping the rains are on their way and that these plains turn into the tight carpet of long grass that we experienced in February earlier this year.

Cinnamon-breasted bunting

These summer months are outstanding in the park not least that we seldom see other cars. The morning is filled with such interest but nothing spectacular.

Breakfast at Mlondozi Dam lookout where we look out over a dry expanse with a puddle of water near the wall.

Back in camp the temperature steadily climbs and by lunchtime it has reached 40oC. We cower in the air conned caravan and then mercifully retire to the swimming pool. According to there is no prospect of good rain for the next 8 days so what water there is in the veld will soon dry up. I have not heard a quail or Shelley’s Francolin call yet as there is just no cover for them.

This evening we only venture out at 4.30pm because of the heat. We head up the main road (H10) towards Muntshe and see a rhino, ellies and three lion drinking in a fast diminishing pool of water.

Tomorrow is going to be our last full day and we intend to do Nwatimhiri again.