Wednesday, 6th March
Renette is packed and ready and we are at the gate in time for opening at 5.30am. We have got five hours in which to reach the airport at Skukuza so there is no hurry.
At the risk of becoming monotonous, I include another photo of this morning’s wild sunrise amongst the clouds swirling up from the south. What is it about these bushveld sunrises?
It is another beautifully cool, bright morning as we wend our way southward, past full dams and pools of water everywhere whilst taking the odd loop roads.
We stop in at Leeupan south of Tshokwane and unsurprisingly it is full of water but – it is choked with grass with very little open water and no reeds. Disappointing from a photographic point of view.
Sanparks is very good at certain things, one being the Skukuza Airport. It is really impressively built from their usual thatch and poles but so well decorated. This is the entry point to Kruger for well-heeled tourists and their first impressions must be very good.
Renette checks in, I then leave and after spending a while pottering down the Sabie river road, I take up a vantage point from where I can photograph the plane taking off. I now run into a spot of bother. The only place from where one can get a good view is along one of the busy mainroads between the river and Skukuza camp. I set up my long lens because of the distance involved but in no time I am swamped by tourist bakkies and cars who are curious to share my ‘sighting’. A traffic jam ensues and I am loathe to tell everyone that I am photographing my wife taking off in a plane for fear of attracting some abuse. So I am treated to the spectacle of a bank of cars with tourists all gazing hopefully through their binoculars in the general direction that my lens is pointing. I try pointing the lens down into the grass hoping they will think that I am photographing a nondescript bird and lose interest, but that makes things even worse as they gaze downwards too. Renette’s plane is twenty minutes late so the chaos lasts for some time but I finally get my photo and discreetly leave, leaving behind a crowd of confused and puzzled tourists.
I go straight back up the main road and am back at Satara by 2pm. We have had rather a lean time of it with our sightings so I am determined to prove where the weak link lies and hope for better luck tomorrow.
Thursday, 7th March
I am up bright and early ready to tackle the new day but the front right tyre puts paid to that as I find it almost flat. This is the same one that was repaired at Letaba.
Satara does not have a workshop so there is nothing I can do but repeat yesterday’s trip down to Skukuza. Trying my best to keep the noise from sleepy campers, I use my little compressor to re-inflate and am out of the gates by the usual 5.30am. There was a shower of rain in the night and the dappled light is beautiful as I head south. It is remarkable how the weather has been so consistent now for the 45 days we have been here. A cool southerly wind has brought clouds most mornings.
Near Tshokwane I stop to enjoy the usual amusing behaviour of baboons.
At Tshokwane I again pump up the fast deflating tyre and had quickly for the Skukuza workshop.
On the way back I come to three lion induced car jams but I manage to evade them. Not for me.
This afternoon reminds me that autumn is approaching as there is definitely a softening of the light.