Lower Sabie 23-24th November

Lower Sabie 23-24th 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.

Saturday, 23rd

This is Gareth’s last full day with us so he has choice of route – which is quite useful as we can blame him for any disasters. Yet another cool, bright morning and we set out to follow the route I took yesterday – down the H4-2 then right along the H5, left onto the S108 and left again along the S27. This is the most picturesque of roads with high trees following river courses.

We see snippets of interest all along the way and finally reach Hippo Pools on the Crocodile River. This is such a beautiful scene but again I notice water hyacinth drifting downstream fed by the fertiliser from the intensive farming along this river.

Continuing towards Croc Bridge we come across a White Rhino.

We stop at the shop in Croc Bridge and chat to lady who runs the immaculate shop there. All is clear now. These picnic Sites are now privatised and the excellent Tshokwane is run by a white woman as well as Croc Bridge. Nkuhlu which, given its location, should be thriving lags far behind. It begs belief that SA’s top tourist destination can allow for gross mismanagement in Kruger.

Back to camp again and the weather warms rapidly. The humidity is sky high.

This evening we go up the H10 and approaching Muntshe we turn left and head for Mafourteen along the S29. At the rocky streambed at the beginning of Salitje we come across two splendid Klipspringers next to the road.

Eventually we turn and head for camp along the S28 and Gareth sees a Honey Badger (Ratel) scuttling into a hole some 30m off the road. After a long wait, he re-emerges and the begins digging earth out of the hole.

Sunday, 24th

Gareth returns to KZN today but decides to squeeze in a Salitje S30 trip as a grand finale – and how true that was to prove. The weather is perfect in all respects as we begin crawling along this beautiful road.

Helmeted Guineafowl

Next we have a Shelley’s Francolin which alerts us to his distinctive “I want some beer, I want some beer” call. It really is the most beautiful bird.

A few hundred meters further and it is the turn of the little Coqui Francolin, also so beautiful in sight and sound.

With senses on high alert, we continue along this lovely road and a discussion on making fishing sinkers is cut short as Gareth spies a leopard right next to the road. What a thrilling sight and what a magnificent setting he is in.

He is obviously on the hunt and crosses the road in front of us with his attention on some impala some 100m further along the road. After he disappears into the bush, we decide to go and sit with the impala and see what happens. The impala though are agitated and snorting all the while whilst looking in the opposite direction further along the road. We wonder if there is another leopard about. After a while we press on but around the corner we come across a pack of wild-dog tearing an impala apart. So it wasn’t a leopard that disturbed the impala, it was the dogs that had just culled one of their number.

The impala are really beginning to drop their lambs although the process does seem to have been more spread out than I would have thought.

So after an action packed trip up the once disappointing Salitje Road, we reach the high level H12 in high spirits. We notice that the Sabie River is now swollen with water as a brown tide spills across the riverbed. The catchment area in the Escarpment must have caught some heavy rain in the last day or so.

Coming back down the H4-1 near the Nwatimhiri river, we come across two White-headed Vultures and a Tawny Eagle feeding on something on the floor of a dry dam.

Finally back in camp, we marvel at the wonderful morning that we have just enjoyed. Probably the best of the entire trip. It seems as though my camera was being used continually.

We bid farewell to Gareth who takes off back home in the BMW. We will certainly miss him as he is a master at spotting things and then positioning the vehicle for me so as to get the best possible photo.

Our next guests arrive tomorrow – Colleen from Zims, Cheryl from Jo’burg and Marion from PMB. I am being banished to the tent so Renette and I spend the rest of the day preparing things for their arrival.