Lower Sabie 21-22nd November

Lower Sabie 21-22nd November

Dear Followers, you may have gathered that this site developed a problem which has now been fixed (25th Nov). However, the previous post that I made for 21-22nd was lost so I am redoing it and hopefully my memory holds out. Apologies.

Thursday, 21st

After some rain in the night (12mm), we move up the H4-1 road before the traffic gets going. The birds really are in nest building mode and there is a frenzy of activity.

Lesser-striped Swallow collecting mud for nest building.

Violet-backed Starling (Library)
Brown Crowned Tchagara (Library)

Near the Nwatimhiri Causeway turnoff we come across some lionesses and cubs.

We stop at the shabby Nkuhlu Picnic Site for a while and Gareth chats to a birding tour guide who is showing some Canadians around. They have seen 62 species already this morning but……. we have seen 75 so we are having a great time of it.

We turn around at the high level bridge H12 and head back down the road. At some stage we see some lions snoozing on the far river bank. Oh dear, I am battling to remember what we saw.

White-crowned Shrike (Gareth)

This afternoon we go up the H10 towards Muntshe. Along the way we meet a Slender Mongoose that is behaving in rather peculiar way. Whereas the usually dash off into the grass this one actually runs towards us.

We stop on the bridge over the stream that feeds Mlondozi Dam. The streambed is bone dry but some Southern Masked Weavers are nest building next to the road.

The weather stays cool with a light southerly wind.

Friday, 22nd

Today is a day with a difference. I am going off in the BMW to visit oldtime friends at Bergendal whilst Renette and Gareth hold the fort at Lower Sabie.

I begin by going down the H4-2 towards Croc Bridge but then cut across to join the S25 river road towards Malelane. It really is a splendid morning, cool but bright. Just beyond the Biyamithi bridge I come across a group of cars ogling a distant leopard up a tree. Leopards up trees has become a feature of this trip.

I next turn right along the oh so attractive Mlambane river road S119. As I approach another group of cars, a leopard strolls out from some rocks on the left, threads its way through the traffic and disappears into the bush towards the river.

Back on the H3 I head down to Malelane but again I am distracted by another collection of cars watching a leopard strolling about in a gully.

I next take the Matjulu Loop gravel road S110 and at the Steilberg junction S120, I come across four large black maned lions resting in the bush.

I call in at the Matjulu water trough and am amazed at the carpet of green grass surrounding it – so different from the barren waste of October. I finally arrive at green and lush Bergendal at 11.30am where I meet up again with the dear Fockema family with whom I have been friendly for 45 years. We spend the next four hours reminiscing over days gone by particularly our fishing trips together with Peter.

At 4pm I bid my sad farewells and head back to Lower Sabie on another magnificent afternoon.