Sunday, 20th May DAY 3

Despite the clear sky last night, rain again begins drumming on the roof of the caravan in the early hours. By the time I get up at 5.20am, the sky is clear again.

Today we head for the Paul Kruger Gate river road (S3). It is curiously apparent how, despite the rains, the grass cover here is completely absent along this most scenic of roads. And the many muddy spoor tracks left by hippo crossing the road no doubt tell a story. I am sure that these animals graze heavily on any grass during their night time forays into the veld.

A Parks vehicle speeds by with armed personnel on the back and I think that they are hurrying towards Phabeni Gate which is a poaching hotspot. But we soon find them stopped opposite a lodge on the far bank of the Sabie and they are all happily busy chatting on their cellphones. But later in camp we hear that in fact there was a contact with rhino poachers near Phabeni Gate with a helicopter involved. Our camp neighbour says that whilst camping at Pretoriuskop they could hear gunfire during the night.

African Hoopoe

We see very little along the road but I am entertained by a small flock of Little Bee-eaters.

Thereafter some zebra and a small buffalo herd and back to camp (S1). Here I am puzzled to find the ground sheet outside the caravan has been ruffled up – until a kindly neighbour comes to tell me that he had to chase away a warthog that was making merry.

We have a pleasant surprise at lunchtime when Warren arrives in a Singita bakkie. He has driven down from Nwanetsi to drop someone at the airport. All is going well for him there and we look forward to seeing him again when we move to Satara on Tuesday.

This afternoon we drive out (S114) to Renoster koppies and then dawdle around the Stevenson-Hamilton loop (S22). There are little incidents of interest but nothing really noteworthy. In fact the trip thus far has been quiet but the lifestyle is just superb.