Satara 26th Feb

Satara 26th Feb

Tuesday, 26th February

I must change tactics with my blog. Up until now, I download the day’s photos every evening and then write the blog. Last night was a case in point where, after wine with the Germans, I am too zonked to do the blog justice. So in future I will be sending out the blog the following day – midday.

I omitted to include this photo taken yesterday evening returning from Nsemane with a wild, setting sun trying to pierce the storm clouds.

We are at the gate at 5.15am but are still well back in the queue unlike the northern camps when we were often the only car out at 5.30am. During the night there was a sprinkle of rain and this morning Satara is wearing her best hat. As we leave the gate we look across these magnificent grasslands with pockets of mist in the hollows amongst the marula trees and the sky all pinks and purples beyond. It is indescribably beautiful.

Satara sunrise

We are heading for our old faithful, Sweni. Just beyond the Nwanetsi (H6) turnoff the road becomes strewn with ellie droppings – but the strange thing is that it lasts for kilometers. I suspect a large herd congregated on the road during the night and slowly strolled along it leaving behind their mark.

Turning on to the Sweni road (S126) we stop for our coffee waiting for the sun to rise at 5.50am. This lovely road is just wonderful this morning. Quails are calling continuously and the road is full of birdlife that is escaping the wet grass. Amongst them is…. A CORNCRAKE. I snatch up my camera but before I can photograph him this very shy bird has disappeared into the grassy verge. Bitterly disappointed we continue.

Paradise Whydah
Namaqua Dove
Red-billed Hornbill
Swainson’s Spurfowl

Sweni veld is a sheet of meter long, thickly packed grass. The is reminiscent of our bumper 2017 February. However then, the roads were full of quails, francolins and guineafowl all with broods of chicks. We wonder if the late rains will mean that the chicks will now appear in March – or not at all.

Soon a hyena comes running along the road towards us carrying a very fresh impala (?) head in his jaws.

Spotted Hyena

He is often looking backwards and is soon being followed by another carrying a leg in its mouth. Both are gazing towards the trees along the river to the left. We guess that a leopard lost its meal out of a tree or the hyena robbed it as it killed.

It is very difficult to convey to you the splendour of this bushveld road. Having suffered mopane for three weeks we are just enthralled by the scene before us. We agree that we could drive up and down this road seeing nothing and still be uplifted.

Breakfast at the Welverdiend water point and then retrace our steps home. Along the way we pass a large tusker – always an impressive sight.

The weather forecast tell us that the rainy period is over with a succession of 39 degree days towards the end of the week. To support this, today is incredibly the first day that we have had a north wind – in 37 days.

This evening we go around to Girivani Dam which is now brimming with water. We see a number of quail and other things of interest. Another lovely day.

Girivani Dam