Satara 12-13th May

Satara 12-13th May

Sunday, 12th May

The nights are now chilly and today dawns misty as we make our way down the S100 Nwanetsi river road.

We really crawl down this lovely road with very few other cars about. Verona spots a Lizard Buzzard close by.

But despite four pairs of eager eyes raking the veld, nothing special comes to light.

After spending some time at Gudzani Dam, we continue southward along the S41 road towards Nwanetsi. In a dip we come across a Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

Rather curiously just beyond that we meet three Woodland Kingfishers that seem to have forgotten to migrate northward with the others. I have not seen or heard one of these birds now for over a month.

We stop for breakfast at the Nwanetsi Picnic Site before continuing to the Sweni Causeway beyond.

Here we linger watching the kingfishers, crakes, plovers, geese and others.

Malachite Kingfisher

The sky takes on a summer look with large cumulus clouds drifting in from the east. We return to camp along the H6 tarred road and Roley spies a Tawny Eagle feeding on a francolin.

This afternoon we set off again down the H6 in beautifully sunny weather. Over the Nwanetsi Bridge we find a pair of Saddle-bill Storks.

Female Saddlebill
Steenbok in the long grass
Purple Roller

A common sight in these grassy plains are Black-shouldered Kites diving into the grass and catching mice. We witness this at long range as the kite alights on a branch to enjoy his catch.

Monday, 13th May

We all agree that the drive we enjoyed most during the week was the one along the Timbavati River road. So, this being Roley and Verona’s last day with us, we decide to take this route.

Today the sky is clear and bright without the trace of mist or cloud. We repeat our drive along this magnificent road but try as we might, we find nothing more than a group of hyena. The one unusual sight are the trees at one point covered in Laughing Doves – hundreds and hundreds of them.

A little disappointed, we move to Bobbejaan Krans along the Orpen road where we intend enjoying breakfast on the bench at the lookout point. But a very aggressive and brazen Vervet Monkey is intent on mugging us and despite me brandishing my Tazer gun, he even enters the vehicle. Only a kick from Verona dispatches him but one marvels at how aggressive these pests can become.

Coming back along the tar we note a group of ellies digging for water in the riverbed. Come October and the animals are going to be hard pressed to find water.

This afternoon we again go along Sweni and at the water trough pass a herd of buffalo. Not far beyond we come to where some male lions are feeding off a freshly killed buffalo but a good 100m off the road and hidden by bush.

After coffee at Welverdiend we retrace our steps but other than two Kori Bustards we see little special.

Roley and Verona would dearly have loved to see a leopard but although we worked really hard, we have not been successful in tracking one down. We have really enjoyed their company and will miss them when they return to Howick tomorrow.