So as to get prime position at Nkaya Pan this morning we are up early and (wait for it Jenky and Warren) we are first at the gate. Unfortunately, there is a cloud cover so not ideal conditions for photographing.
We are at Nkaya by 6.30am and already three hyena and a multitude of vultures are on the rhino carcass. The hyenas do not allow the vultures to feed and are there until 9.00am eating their fill but all the while very nervously watching the nearby bush which we suspect is hiding some lions. When they finally give way of course there is a scrum of thrashing vultures on the rhino.
We do a count and all told there are about 200 birds – about 30 Cape Vultures, initially 20 Hooded, 2 White-Headed and 1 Lappet-faced and the rest White-backed vultures.
I was hoping that the Egyptian Vulture that has been seen repeated in the Satara area would have been amongst them, but no such luck.
A real pecking order is apparent – lions > hyenas > Lappet-faced > Cape > White-backed > White-headed > and lastly the diminutive Hooded Vulture.
At 10.30am we return to camp. Renette says that she is fed up after being ten days in the park without seeing a lion properly. I say it is because we are not hungry enough, content to see what we have already been seeing. Well, she says she is now going to will in a lion. One minute later there is a big male, a female and two adolescents on her side at the Sweni bridge. So, another lesson in the power of positive thinking.
Coming to the Nwanetsi tarred (H6) turn off we coincidentally meet the Singita Quantum and Warren is driving some guests to the airstrip. No time to talk much so off they go with their precious guests.
This afternoon the sky has cleared and we take off down to the picturesque Sweni causeway (S37). On the way a huddle of cars tell us that there is a leopard hiding in the grass. I try and call in my Painted Snipe but no such luck. But you will understand from the following photo what a beautiful place this is and we spend a good hour watching the water birds.
One of the pleasures of photography is that one can keep taking shots of common birds but in new settings which is always pleasing.
We dawdle back across the plains with another spectacular sunset. Black Shouldered Kites are hovering and the diving into the grass catching mice. The leopard is still teasing the cars but we drive on. To the south a huge summery type thunder cloud is mushrooming into the sky and as I write this at 9pm, lightning is flashing and drops of rain falling. And it’s almost mid-winter.
Satara is by some distance the best camp in the park. Despite being full, the roads are not congested and the variety of roads is just superb. The campsite sprawls informally over a wide area whereas Lower Sabie’s is cramped and small,
We are so enjoying it and another superb day.