Salitje it is as we cross the Sabie at 4.30am on another cloudy morning. We take the S128 gravel road towards Mafourteen and it is apparent as we draw away from Lower Sabie that the rainfall has increased all the time. By the time we reach Salitje S30 the veld really is quite beautiful.
Salitje at one time was known as the lion road because of frequent sightings but over the past few years it has lost this reputation and has often been quite barren. Not today. We start with two very sleepy and disinterested young males at the side of the road who we battle to wake up.
Next at the ‘pond’ two beautiful black maned lions are also in sleepy mode.
Salitje is just magnificent with its trees and grassland. At our favourite Sabie lookout point our Goliath Heron has taken a break from nest building. Note the brownish water of the river.
Not far beyond here we are creeping along when a Grey Duiker bursts out of the bush with a Wild-dog hot on its heals, a meter in front of our Quantum. They disappear into the bush again but as we stop we become aware that the bush is full of dogs that are in hunting mood. With their cupped ears it is so interesting watching how they communicate with each other. They seem to know exactly what each other are doing, scattered over a wide area.
A kilometer short of the end of the road near the high level H13 bridge, we come across a lioness lying in the middle of the road.
With typical lion indifference, the occasional passing car must drive around her as she stays firmly in the middle of the road.
We find that four hours is about our limit before our concentration begins to waver so once over the bridge we quickly go down the H4-1 main road back to Lower Sabie after a great morning. Near Lubyelubye a cluster of cars are watching more lions down in the riverbed.
After a little refreshment and a rest I go out by myself back up the H4-1. At Sunset Dam I am just in time to see this enormous crocodile crossing the road through the traffic.
Once over the road he flops down and basks in the weak sunlight next to the road. Why he didn’t stay next to the dam I don’t know.
Approaching the Lubyelubye Rocks, a lioness plods along the side of the road, A few hundred meters beyond the bridge more cars are watching another group of lionesses sleeping near the road, never the most exciting sighting.
Meanwhile word comes through that there is a leopard in a tree feeding on an impala 3km’s further on so I hurry there and find this scene.
With the high Quantum, my long 800mm lens and the mega pixels of my new camera, I can position myself out of the traffic and still get good photos of this wonderful scene.
Flushed with pleasure at these interesting sights I return to camp. But the weather is so good and not hot at 32℃ so at 3pm I am off up the road again. The lions are still in place and our leopard has now climbed down the tree and is resting in the shade there under.
It is just not possible to ignore the beautiful Woodland Hingfishers even though they are so plentiful.
I go as far as the Nwatimhiri causeway S79 where I have coffee marvelling at the beauty of the scenes around me.
With the sun setting and the light superb I come across this giraffe enjoying an evening stroll.
What a glorious day so filled with action and so typically Kruger. One moment quiet and the next so filled with action.
Shaun Jenkinson Dec 8, 2020 at 1:33 pm
A very great day in the park. If you look at your leopard photos closely, you’ll notice that the leopard under the tree is a large male leopard, note the very muscular neck and shoulders and the one that was up the tree feeding is a smaller, younger leopard and not the same one that you saw earlier that day.
Likelihood is that the larger male leopard chased off the smaller, younger one from its kill and is lying in the shade of a tree to avoid the heat.
Richard Grant Dec 8, 2020 at 3:13 pm
Quite right Shaun. Only when I could blow up the photos on the computer could I see the difference. It was a good 60m off the road.