Satara 15-16th May

Satara 15-16th May

Wednesday, 15th May

Unusually, there is a little cloud in the sky this morning as we head north up the tar towards the S90 gravel road heading east towards Gudzani.

There are also the odd mist patches in the hollows and in one we see a Kori Bustard ahead.

Next we come across a Spotted Thick-knees (Dikkop) at the side of the road. This so attractive bird is not seen often but this one poses patiently for me.

This is real Kruger – always throwing up the unexpected. We next turn down the S41 towards Gudzani and immediately come across these waterbuck resting in the grass.

The light in this clear sky is just too harsh and we hasten back to camp up the S100 Nwanetsi River road.

Down to Nkaya Pan in the afternoon but besides a most welcome Secretarybird, we do not see much.

Thursday, 16th May

For our last morning at Satara for this chapter we head for Sweni S126 – where else. We begin with a Burchell’s Coucal which is always surprisingly difficult to photograph.

Not far beyond, a Crested Barbet really poses beautifully for me.

We push on beyond the Welverdiend waterhole and after only 1Km come across this splendid young male lion at the side of the road.

He is typically disinterested in us and we remain with him for about 40 minutes. And this is where Satara’s real attraction lies. During this entire time, no other car came our way. I hate to think of the shambles had this great sighting taken place near Skukuza. What was really pleasing too was the immaculate condition of the lion. Whereas most Kruger lions are mangy and battle scarred, this fellow was like a big, beautiful teddy bear.

We abandon our plans to continue along the road, turn around and head for camp. The following photo shows how rapidly the photographic light deteriorates. Taken before 9am, this beautiful Sweni scene is already bland and colourless.

You will remember that on Monday lions killed a buffalo some 100m off the Sweni road. Well, Africa’s cleaning crew have been hard at work as evidenced by this freshly cleaned buffalo skull lying at the side of the road.

Above us, a pair of African Hawk-Eagles circle.

As to be expected, these May days are dead still and sunny with the midday temperature reaching about 28 degrees.

This afternoon we go out again to our Mavumbye pond along the S90 north of Satara. There, vultures are feeding in the bush off some vile smelling carrion.

Yellow-throated Longclaw

What a lovely way to end a really interesting day with the sun setting behind a herd of wildebeest.

Tomorrow we pack early and head for Skukuza for a week. I hope that after the solitude of the Satara roads that I will cope with the busyness down south.