Sunday, 13th I have been keen to photograph the Giant Kingfishers catching fish in Sunset Dam at daybreak. Today dawns clear and still – perfect for the job.
At 6am we are out of the camp gates and take up the most advantageous position before others move in.
We have barely settled in when another commotion erupts in the dam which is still misty and semi-dark.
We have no idea what is going on but crocodiles and hippos are coming from all directions and converging on a spot where there is much trashing about in the water. The crocs are obviously feeding on something but it is puzzling why they should suddenly do so in the middle of the dam.
Only later when I can look at my photos do I see that they are feasting on a young male Kudu that must have been dragged into the water.
What is quite surprising is the participation of the hippos that move in amongst the mass of thrashing crocodiles.
One hippo actually joins in and has some skin in its mouth.
So distracted am I by these goings on that I fail to notice the arrival of my Kingfishers which begin fishing in the most advantageous place for me to photograph. Too late I swing round onto them but all my camera settings are wrong and I miss a wonderful opportunity. A bit aggrieved, we return to camp.
A little while later I return to the dam and am intrigued by a ‘periscope’ making its way across the dam towards me.
Reaching the shoreline the submarine surfaces and all is explained.
Try as I might I do find crocodiles repulsive and although they are very much part of Kruger’s food chain, their looks and habits are not endearing.
The weather is warming and with the temperature 31°C this afternoon as we set off up the H10 to Muntshe.
In the photo you can see a couple of hundred meters further on, the small bridge over the Mnondozi Stream. Debris hanging in nearby bushes indicates that the February floodwaters would have covered the road a meter deep where this photo was taken.
Sunset and sunrise are always such special times of the day in Kruger.
Monday, 14th So disappointed was I to miss my Kingfishers yesterday that I am determined to photograph them this morning. And no croc or hippo will distract me this time.
We arrive at 6am and notice our Pelican in his same roost in the Leadwood. We note that he is always first to ‘bed’ at 4.30pm every day and last to leave his perch in the morning. He certainly seems very content all by himself at Sunset Dams.
The hippos and crocodiles are all quiet today and at sunrise the two Giant Kingfishers arrive. I am ready for them this time and although they dive into the water a bit far off, I still get my photo.