Lower Sabie 19-20th August

Lower Sabie 19-20th August

Saturday, 19th          After yesterday’s drama I suppose that we cannot expect much but with hawk-eyed David and Warren aboard, anything can happen. We take off at 6am on a dark, overcast morning and head straight down the main H4-2 road to where yesterday evening’s night-drive sighting of the leopards took place. 1Km beyond the bridge turnoff, we come to the sycamore fig tree and find the female leopard and her cub still busy on the impala carcass. Unfortunately it is so dark that I must lower my shutter speed so as to blur the photo if there is the slightest movement. Which happens as the mother drags the carcass higher up into the tree.

The cub is left gazing after its mother.

This being their last day, our visitors decide to take the Muntshe S122 loop behind the mountain. The H10 road of course takes us straight  past yesterday’s great leopard sighting tree. The carcass, which we decide is a female nyala, is by now pretty threadbare and the tree is desolate. We push on to where the road  reaches Muntshe and immediately David spots two male lions not far off the road, down near the Mnondozi stream. Both lions  are a rather unusual brown colour – both though formidable specimens.

The S122 behind the mountain has its usual assortment of zebras, wildebeest, steenbok and… reedbuck which is new to this trip. Towards the end of the road, Warren spots a zebra leg protruding out from under a bush right next to the road and further investigation reveals two lionesses.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

We circle around to the Mlondozi Picnic Spot for breakfast.

Mlondozi Picnic Spot perched on its hillside


From this beautiful vantage point, David notes some Zebra behaving skittishly and then picks out  three lions in the grass.

On the way back to camp down the H10, we note an English family have taken up sentry duty next to our leopard tree, determined to wait for the leopard’s return. When considering the small amount of  meat left over, we marvel at their resilience, particularly of the young children in the car.

Just downstream from the bridge over the Sabie.

The clouds thicken up by this afternoon and  at 3.30pm we set out for the Nkumbe lookout point, some 35km from Lower Sabie along the Tshokwane H10 road. These are all sentimental places for David and Warren who visited them so often in their youth.

The view from the Nkumbe Lookout point.

     We lament the fact that we have not seen any rhinos on our trip, particularly in the area south of Lower Sabie. Where once rhino middens were often to be seen next to the road, now…. nothing. However, today we do see traces of two small middens and on the way back from Nkumbe, Warren spots four white Rhinos grazing some distance from the road.

It has been heavily overcast this afternoon and we are surprised to see a red sun break through on the horizon as it sets.

Pressing on, we reach our ‘leopard tree’ and are amazed to find the leopard back up feeding on the remains. We are delighted to see that the English family are watching – just reward after so many hours of patience.

Sunday, 20th               Our family from Johannesburg are returning home today so at 6am we are busy packing tents and camping gear.

I sneak around to Sunset Dam in the hope of finding my Kingfishers. Find them I do but also some Indian Mynahs that are harassing the resident Buffalo Weavers… AND MY KINGFISHERS. This really is a problem for Kruger.

At 7.30am we bid farewell and our visitors take off for Jo’burg. Whilst the light is still good, Renette and I decide to check on both our leopard trees. Both are devoid of leopards and carcasses so the family could not have timed it better. At the Maroela tree along the H10, a hopeful Hyena comes wandering up the road and sniffs around under the tree.