We know that the Nwatimhiri road (S21) is dry and corrugated but such is its beauty that we dare not miss it. But first David has been told by his neighbours that a leopard hauled an impala into a tree along the Nwatimhiri causeway loop yesterday evening so we are going to go there first. Eight cars are ahead of us at the gate and unusually six of them turn right up the Sabie river road and speed off with their intentions very apparent. By the time we arrive at the spot the cars are already positioned next to the tree which is deserted.
Renette suddenly spies the leopard lying right near us and hidden from everyone else and we get a lovely view of him.
Typically though he soon gets restless, get up and slinks off through the bushes.
Back on the Nwatimhiri to creep along this magnificent bushveld road with continual snippets of interest. David spots some Violet-eared Waxbills but they disappear.
After our late start on the road and two very patient and well behaved youngsters on board, we decide to turn around and head back to camp – via the leopard tree on the causeway road.
Rather unexpectedly we find the leopard up the tree feeding off the impala whilst a scrum of cars jostle below. A hyena catches the scraps that fall. Eventually the leopard finishes his meal, climbs down and lies in the shade of the same tree and leisurely goes about his ablutions. After which he strolls off into the bushes and that will be the end of him as his meal is complete. Curiously a Hooded Vulture flies in and immediately starts feeding on the remains of the carcass which is in thick foliage. How did it know that it was there?
A few meters further on two Retz’s Helmetshrikes cross over the road.
Of course with the dry conditions the Sabie river is a magnet for lions as the game concentrates along its length. Here is another well fed male lion quenching his thirst in the river.
The light is good so we drop off the girls and children in camp and David and I go to watch the action at Sunset Dam
Sunset Dam’s ‘solar panels’ spread out on the bank. As one these Yellow-billed Storks suddenly drew in these wings and stood normally again.
Really interesting was watching the crocodiles broad-side on, working the fish into a corner and then snapping them up. (No Photoshopping here – this is as it happened).
This evening at 4.30pm we sit on the dam wall and watch all the activity around us.
This ellie mother made very sure that a large croc stayed well away from her calf.
A female Giant Kingfisher hovers nearby before diving into the water like a Pied Kingfisher.
We then decide to take a short drive out along the eastern gravel road to Mlondozi Dam and turn around and return. We come across two Marsh Owls that are flying about despite the sun still shining brightly.
I have only ever seen them after sunset so it came as a great thrill to photograph one in good light.
To end off a really varied and interesting day, we meet a family of warthogs wending their way home just as the last rays from the sun disappear. Oh my goodness, it is just not possible to be bored in this fantastic place. The only certainty is that one is going to meet with the unexpected.