Friday, 1st February
Out we go at 5.30am following a string of cars who find this a better time to rise. They all peel off along the way and we reach Sweni first in partially overcast weather and cool south wind blowing.
300m beyond our coffee stop and we come across a pride of lions to the right, noisily feeding off a carcass. Growls and grunts come our way as they go about their grisly business.
With a few cars arriving we move on to Welverdiend water point from where we look across the flat, open area with herds of impala, zebra, wildebeest and an ellie drinking out the reservoir.
The veld is drier here and the grass is beginning to wilt.
After breakfast we retrace our steps back to the lions. We arrive just as two lionesses are picking off what is left on the very well cleaned remains of what was once a wildebeest.
One lioness drags the kill to some bushes 100m away and suddenly a deluge of scavengers appears from nowhere.
Two jackals and hyenas, white-backed, white-headed and lappet- faced vultures come parachuting in and within five minutes all the scraps that had been left behind have been snapped up and the diners must now wait patiently for the lions to leave.
Never were there more than four cars watching this great sight which is the advantage of Kruger up north in summer. We decide that the best viewing has come and gone so we continue back to camp.
Amazingly, a hard shower of rain falls on the camp at midday from almost nowhere. Most of the sky is clear and blue but a few large fleecy clouds are floating about.
We have not yet seen Nkaya Pan on this trip so at 4pm we set out southward along the H1-4 mainroad for 20Km’s. Not unexpectedly with pools of water in the veld, Nkaya is very quiet but also overgrown with grass making photography difficult. The main interest for me were the clouds which were boiling up into mushrooms and then being cut off by a crosswind at high altitude. An ‘anvil cloud’ if I think back to my geography.
Anyway, another lovely day in Kruger and we look forward to what tomorrow may bring.
Saturday, 2nd February
We have chosen today our old faithful again – Sweni (S126). Arriving at the camp gates at 5.25am, we find ourselves second in the queue and then the first and only car onto a very deserted Sweni.
Before long, yesterday’s lionesses and cubs scamper across the road ahead of us but quickly disappear into the bush. Amazingly, when one considers how stripped the carcass was, a lot of vultures are hopefully hanging around.
Sweni really has its scenic coat on today. With cool, crisp air and woolly clouds the road ahead is a picture.
We come to the Welverdiend water point and find three more lions lazing about.
A pair of geese are swimming on the water with their brood whilst nearby some Dwarf Mongooses are sticking their heads out of their antheap home.
There is constant interest along the road and we end up cutting north to the main Orpen road.
At Nsemani Dam we find a herd of ellies swimming and cavorting in the water. We spend quite some time enjoying the spectacle from our vantage point on the wall.
Approaching Satara camp we are struck by its beauty laid out amongst trees on the flat savanna plains of central Kruger.
A large herd of impala are at the gate and we pause to photograph the camp and the impala.
There are 100 campsites at Satara and are occupied. The sparse traffic on the roads is a real pleasure.
The weather forecast has lowered their expectations for rain on Monday. Large clouds are drifting about this afternoon over Mozambique and it seems strange that for some reason it just will not rain properly in Kruger. Gauteng is having rain and we can see the dark clouds to the west as we take off to Girivani Dam for our evening drive. Just past Nsemani Dam two cheetah are walking through the grass but away from us. At Girivani a herd of ellies are busy drinking from the trough.
At 6pm we return to Nsemani Dam just in time to see another large ellie herd coming down for their evening drink.
A fitting end to another great day in Kruger.