Tuesday, 21st November DAY 7

The lure of the Biyamithi Weir is calling and because this is our last day at Skukuza, we are going to make the most of it. First again at the gate at 4.25am, we set out in still, clear weather heading along the road towards Pretoriuskop. Passed the gravel road turnoff to Malelane and down in the stream bed beyond (H1-1), we come across four white rhinos. The tragedy of their plight again shows as they are seriously distressed by our presence. They confusedly wheel about emitting squealing, whining sounds – so different from their normal, docile ways. It is pitiful to see and is really upsetting. Of course it always sets off the train of thought that tells me that in the modern, liberal world there is no chance of saving them.

Arrow-marked Babbler

Troubled after our rhino encounter, we continue rapidly along the tar road, turning off towards Afsaal (H33) and then left again onto the gravel road (S113) that leads to the Biyamithi river (S23). And as we get there we find that one of these tour bakkies has beaten us to it so we stop to have coffee, allowing him to get well ahead – no doubt in the process clearing the road of exciting sightings. But that is the penalty of staying at Skukuza where these tourist bakkies rule the roost and are allowed out earlier than us. Approaching the weir and in that unique morning light, I stop to photograph the birds which proliferate. This must be one of the most attractive places in Kruger.

Water Thick Knees
Klaas’s Cuckoo

We spend a good hour or so well entertained by a beautiful Klaas’s Cuckoo and then head back directly towards Skukuza up the gravel road.

Wire-tailed Swallows

Back at the Renoster water trough, all hell has broken loose as a scrum of tourist bakkies indicate that last night’s lion are still there. We don’t even stop to find them but press on back to camp.

Today we feel for the first time some pre-frontal heat. Fortunately, the caravan air con and the swimming pool take care of that.

I want to spend the afternoon in the Lake Panic hide but only when I get there do I realise that I have forgotten to apply my Peaceful Sleep after my swim. And with malaria around, I don’t think that sitting in the dank evening hide would be a good idea. So I decide to rather drive around Doispan (S1) and down to Paul Kruger Gate (S4). At the little pond, where Jenky once spotted his leopard, I find the rather sad sight of a single wild dog that has lost all its fur – not the most attractive spot of the trip.

Woodland Kingfisher

Tomorrow we are going to do a short trip down the Salietjie Road (S30) next to the Sabie River, double back to camp from where we leave for Satara.