Satara 29-30th Jan

Satara 29-30th Jan

Tuesday, 29th January

The sky gives every indication that the rainy weather spell has ended. Today we want to visit one of my favourite spots – the Sweni causeway down Nwanetsi way. At 5am we head down the main tarred H1-4 road. Just beyond the Nwanetsi stream bridge we encounter some ellies with babies which of course attracts Renette’s attention. Whilst parked quietly I am startled by a screeching trumpet and a large ellie’s legs that I hadn’t yet seen fill the rear window. Renette’s photographing is quickly cut short.

We turn along the H6 main road to Nwanetsi and immediately notice again how patchy the rainfall has been.

Ankle length grass means no seeds, no cover, no small grass birds and no birds of prey. In fact this Wahlberg’s Eagle is the first eagle that we have seen in eight days.

The Sweni causeway is a real picture today, brimming with water but…. totally devoid of any birdlife. Despite sitting for half an hour, we do not see a single bird – not even a goose. I do find that a little strange but maybe the recent rain has dispersed the birds and the animals.

Sweni Causeway

We move on to a deserted Nwanetsi Picnic spot for some breakfast and then take the S41 gravel road towards Gudzani. It is very apparent by the long, lush grass that this area has had good rains but by the time that we reach Gudzani the grass is almost drought stricken and brown.

Carmine Bee-eater

We turn up the S100 and move quickly towards camp, past the Carmine Bee-eaters and the usual sights that we have become accustomed to over the past week.

This evening it is up the tar H1-4 and then sitting amongst a herd of zebra in beautiful evening light.

Zebra Fighting

Sorry folks, I wish I could be writing about more exciting encounters but hopefully they are still to come.

Wednesday, 30th January

We are headed to the Timbavati River today so we are at the gate at 4.30am in total darkness – and in total solitude. There is no one about as the sleepy guard opens up and we head north along the H1-4. Opening times change to 5.30am on Friday and we will then be doing Sweni and the closer roads. We see four scrub hares and a genet cat before turning off after 16Km along the S127 towards Timbavati The eastern sky is lightening and is mostly clear. A Civet runs ahead in the headlights but at that point a large BMW X6 rushes up behind us and then speeds past. We follow in his dust and are a little perplexed when he turns into the still gloomy Timbavati Picnic Site.

We then begin a slow 10KPH crawl along this magnificent road (S39) with great trees lining the riverbed on the right. Good rain has fallen here and there are pools to be seen in the veld and every now and then streams have washed over the road. But despite our efforts, we see absolutely nothing that warrants a stop which is a pity as the light on such a scene cries out for some photos. So, a little defeated we return to camp but determine to keep our lines in the water and wait for better days.

The sky has high haze and has a look about it that suggests that there is rain about. They are predicting more on Saturday. At 1pm I take off down the S100 with my  ear half on the cricket. But try as I might, I can only find a pair of Woodland Kingfishers to photograph.

It is going to be difficult for readers to retain interest in this blog as I have so little to report on.

Back in camp we have some strenuous swimming and for our last 4,30am effort tomorrow morning, we are going to Mwaswitsontso.