Tuesday, 22nd May DAY 5

I have noticed something rather strange. Whereas Croc Bridge – Lower Sabie – Biyamithi, the Sand and Sabie rivers are full of water, and although the veld around Skukuza is well grassed, the pans and streams here are empty. So it should not have come as such a surprise when I get to Lake Panic (S42) at 6.30am and find it the lowest I have ever seen. The hide itself is standing in dry mud, there is no water at all to the right and the water level in the rest of the dam is very, very low. So our visit at the end of August to Lake Panic should be a total let down. So the only bird activity is looking straight into the rising sun which on occasions does produce an effective photograph.

Female Saddle-bill Stork

African Pied Wagtails

I stay until about 9am and then return to camp where we pack up ready for our trip to Satara. We really have this caravanning down to a fine art and in no time everything is loaded and we are on our way (H1-2). We stop at Tshokwane and sample one of their “famous” pies but never again for me. My kudu pie is positively revolting.

This photo taken within the Satara camp shows what I mean about the wonderful winter pastel colours that one finds in the bushveld. Along the entire trip to Satara the veld is magnificent. Despite the camp being full we quickly find a lovely campsite and settle in. The effects of the famous pie are now being felt and after medication I retire until 4.30pm when we go north for a few Km’s up the main road (H1-4) looking for a Marsh Owl. No such luck.

As I write this diary in the evening, the door is left open and I marvel at the lack of insects that in summer swarm towards any light. Little wonder that there is mass migration of birds northward in our winter. It isn’t the cold that drives them away, it is the food supply.

Sanparks has done it again. Despite fighting with them for years now, the 3G internet at Satara is so weak that I can barely receive or send anything. And there is no Wi-fi. It is beyond me that the second biggest camp of SA’s major tourist attraction should have no internet. The smallest lodge provides wi-fi for their guests but Sanparks is an SOE so it doesn’t matter. They still get their salary at the end of the month so why should they worry about all the frustrated overseas tourists who rely on the internet for just about everything.

Tomorrow we are going to meet Warren at the airstrip next to Satara where he will pick up some guests coming in to Singita.