Monday, 28th May DAY 11

The internet, or lack of it, at Satara is driving us crazy. We are forced again to travel to Orpen purely to make contact with the outside world. I have been having a running battle with Sanparks for the past 18 months on the subject but like a typical SOE they could not be bothered and do nothing.

So off we go along the Sweni road but in a bit of a hurry with Orpen in mind. And it shows. We see absolutely squat along the way and after Orpen begin the 45Km trip back to Satara (H7).

About 4 Km from Orpen a car alerts us to two cheetah just off the road. Whilst photographing them in dense grass, a car draws level and we are pleasantly surprised to see Simon Hurry (a one time Grantleigh teacher) who tells us that he is on his way to Satara to visit a friend. He also tells us that there is a leopard in a tree feeding on a kill just outside the Orpen gate next to the main road that runs through the private reserves. So being a little starved of leopards, we hurry back, out the gate along the road but….. the leopard has climbed down his tree and disappeared. Defeated, we re-enter Kruger and high tail it to Satara.

Warren has invited us to spend a couple of nights with him at the Singita staff village and at 3.30pm we dawdle down the tarred road (H6) towards Nwanetsi. I am keen to photograph the Black-shouldered Kites that hover and then dive into the grass catching mice at sunset. They must have amazing sight to effect this. Unfortunately, rather like kingfish, they do their hunting when the light is fading which makes photography difficult.

But today the Kites are lying low so we take the gravel road to Warren’s quarters just as a very red full moon rises over the Lebombo. The whole of Singita is solar powered and this includes our destination. As an ex army camp it is to be expected that the rooms are a bit Spartan but this is the bushveld and it doesn’t matter at all. A hot shower, a clean warm bed and anywhere is very liveable.It’s early to bed as tomorrow Warren is taking us to the Lodge proper where we will go on an early morning game drive with him.