Monday, 20th November DAY 6

After my dull and cloudy day at Lake Panic on Saturday, I decide to give it another try today which is bright and sunny. So at 4.45am I enter the desolate hide and settle down to enjoy this most beautiful aspect of Skukuza. The kingfishers and herons are fishing and the weavers are nest building, hippos are snorting and the fisheagles crying. As a photographer, one always hopes for the extraordinary but in the meantime there is plenty to keep one busy.

Lesser-masked Weaver (nest building)
Malachite Kingfisher
Malachite Kingfisher

A like-minded bird photographer joins me and it is quite amusing to compare our similar lifestyles. A retiree who spends most of his time travelling the country enjoying our spectacular wildlife areas. Our conversation is cut short as pandemonium breaks out. Fish eagles flee their trees, noisy geese squawk as they take off and a hippo comes crashing through the shallows. And along the shore line comes a line of six tourists led by an armed guard on a trail. Oh my goodness, how inconsiderate can one get. Here there is a vast expanse of lake to walk around but they chose to walk right past the hide wrecking the solitude of the place for all of us.

I return to camp as the early morning light had deteriorated anyway.

Today is quite hot and after a meal on the deck, Renette and I retire to the swimming pool.

For our afternoon drive we set out at 3.30pm, take the Afsaal/Malelane road ((H3) and then cut across to Biyamithi (S113). We see two things of real interest.

The first is a pair of Coqui Francolins and I do manage a good photo of the male. But as usual the female is far harder to get as she shyly sticks to the long grass.

And then at the Renoster koppies (S114) water point we find two large, black maned lions. These of course never fail to impress.