Lower Sabie 26-27th February

Lower Sabie 26-27th February

Wednesday 26th

The rains are well and truly over with and the skies are bright and clear. For February, though, the weather is surprisingly cool. Today we set out for our old favourite – Salitje S30 that runs along the northern bank of the Sabie River.

Coffee at our usual pond at the beginning of the S30 with a water monitor lying next to the vehicle.

Water Monitor (My Library)
Salitje S30 Coffee spot

We then push on along this exquisite early morning road with the sun at our backs. Well treed and grassed, this is such an attractive bushveld road.

We do not see anything out of the ordinary but soak up the beauty of the road. Across the Sabie at the high level H13 bridge, we then make our way down the H4-1 road to Lower Sabie.

Natal Spurfowl

This afternoon, we are heading for that lovely evening destination – Mlondozi Dam. We travel up the H10 tarred road and about 3km’s beyond the bridge, we come across a sizeable herd of buffalo, some of which are enjoying a good wallow in the many pools.

Thereafter we press on and arrive at the Mlondozi Picnic spot perched above the dam and commanding such a pleasing view over the surrounding plains. Here we enjoy our evening coffee together with the Crowther’s.

Good company in these surroundings is such a joy but time is short and we must get back to camp by 6-30pm.

The Mnondozi stream below the dam wall looking east.

We stop along the way looking at larks, coucals, rollers and tchagaras.

Rufous-naped Lark (My Library)

Back at the buffalo, a couple of cars are parked just beyond. We take their place as they leave just in time to see a large buffalo charge through the grass next to us and rout a male lion. With the buffalo gone, the lion then wanders onto the road ahead and then comes walking past us. His scarred back gives evidence of the tough life that these cats lead.

Time though is now short but just as we begin to move, Renette spots another beauty near some bushes from where he is staring with interest at the buffalo.

We are sure that they are preparing for an attack but time is pressing as we race back to camp. An exciting end to another splendid day.

Thursday, 27th

Today is again fresh, still and clear. Ideal for an early hour at Sunset Dam, Birds always are busy feeding at sunrise and we are treated to a display from the usual birds that frequent this great expanse of water. At 5.45am the first rays of the sun play across the waters and it is game on.

Yellow-billed Stork
Grey Heron fishing off a hippo’s back.
Three-banded Plover
Green-backed (Striated) Heron
Wood Sandpiper

We wonder if the lions were successful with their hunt last evening and after an hour at the dam, we decide to go and investigate. We cross the Sabie and move up the H10 but the buffalo and lions have disappeared and no vultures are about. So we continue along the road past some old tuskers until we hear the familiar call of “I want some beer” from a Shelley’s Francolin in the grass. With a little help from the caller, we coax this very pretty bird onto the road.

Shelley’s Francolin

Whilst we are busy with the francolin, a small flock of Helmeted Guineafowl with a brood of chicks come down the road towards us.

Helmeted Guinesfowl

Beyond the Mlondozi turnoff, we come across some inquisitive Slender Mongooses at the side of the road.

Slender Mongoose

Whilst watching them, three Honey Badgers (Ratels) trot onto the road ahead. We quickly follow but two of them retreat into the grass. The third though, stays on the road and then, rather bizarrely, lies down dog-like for a quick nap .

But he is soon on his way, leaving us to press on to the Mnondozi Stream which feeds the nearby dam.

Mnondozi Stream

Here we have a quick snack for breakfast, rather bemused by the rapid fire action that we have enjoyed this morning. One thing followed the other and if ever there is a lesson to be had from this, it is how much interest is to be had from observing the beautiful small things that Kruger has to offer.

Driving back to camp we stop to admire more birds and then a Juvenile Martial Eagle comes spiralling overhead.

Lilac-breasted Roller
Juvenile Martial Eagle

A really superb morning enjoyed in perfect weather and………. not one Big 5.

Today warms rapidly ahead of a front which is predicted to bring light rain tomorrow. But it is still way off the searing heat that we experienced in November. This afternoon sees us moving rapidly up the H4-1 to the top end of the Nwatimhiri causeway road S79 and then slowly working our way homeward. Along that short road we come across two beautiful birds shown off so effectively in the rich evening light.

Wattled Lapwing
Little Bee-eater

Kruger is full of these little gems that can be so easily overlooked. What a fitting end to such a great day as we drift quietly along this picturesque road through herds of impala, giraffe, ellies, kudu, bushbuck, waterbuck etc..

Again, we end the day braaiing around the fire filled with contentment and anticipation for the new day.