With Renette much improved and after five delightful days spent with David (2nd son), Steph and grandchildren, the call of Kruger sounds. So at 5.45am we leave Kyalami and begin the trek eastward. How the poor folks in the area around Witbank/Middelburg survive under that thick blanket of smog, I don’t know. It is appalling. All goes well and we re-enter Kruger through Malelane Gate at 11.30am and thereafter head up through the Park stopping only to stock up with Tshokwane pies. By 3pm we are settled into our new campsite at Satara and ready to take on what Kruger has on offer.
I am keen to follow the northern roads as we did some ten days ago. At 5.40am we are seventh in the dark queue at the gate. A 6am we quickly head nothward up the main H1-4. After some 18km we come across two large male lions gambolling together in the road.
After a while, they take off into the long grass continuing to frolic like kittens whilst behind them the sun rises.
Active big male lions really are fascinating and we thoroughly enjoy our time with them.
We then reach the single lane track S147 beyond the Ngotso Dam. This exquisite road is the real reason for our choice today and perhaps the following photos will show you why.
This area of the Park is the answer to those who say Kruger is too busy. We hardly see another car all morning along these truly superb roads. During times when the grass around Satara is long then I would really recommend that you follow today’s route. At the end of the S147 we turn left, cross the main H1-4 and then follow the S39 which skirts the Timbavati River. We soon come across a large herd of buffalo.
At a lookout over the Timbavati River, we stop for breakfast.
The wind suddenly picks up from the south and light clouds begin to skud across the sun.
About halfway along the Timbavati Road, we come across two White-backed and one Hooded Vulture feeding off something in the grass.
We settle down to watch and discover that they are feeding off a dead baboon which is unusual. And then the others start arriving.
This is followed by a couple of majestic Lappet-faced vultures which immediately take ownership of the carcass.
But for me, even more pleasing were the arrival of four White-headed Vultures which are not that plentiful.
Suddenly, there is a wild scramble and a flurry of wings as the vultures frantically become airborne and onto the scene appears a lioness that must be the finest specimen I have ever seen in Kruger. She is just rippling with muscle and has that loose skinned look of the Kgalagadi lions.
She has been attracted by the activity of the vultures but after she comes forward and sees the little baboon remains, she loses interest, turns back and heads for the river.
This whole sequence is so typically Kruger. It was totally unexpected but kept us riveted for an hour watching the drama unfold. And what was so wonderful was there were no cars to distract us. Thoroughly satisfied we return to camp.
Late afternoon the south wind has subsided and we go down the S100 Nwanetsi River road. It is a beautiful evening but the long grass and plentiful water elsewhere has scattered the animals away from this usually busy road. What a great day.