Satara 9-10th March

Satara 9-10th March

Saturday, 9th March

After my good day at Timbavati yesterday, I decide to repeat it. So at 5.30am I am up the main H1-4 northwards. I find yesterday’s lions in the road at exactly the same spot. I push on and cut across to Timbavati under a cloudless sky – a rarity since we arrived here nearly seven weeks ago.

I begin a slow idle along the river road (S39) but immediately a Sanparks bakkie filled with armed guards rushes past in a cloud of dust and all thoughts of a leopard lying in the road vanish. I have seen quite a few armed foot patrols in the Park and I do hope they are doing their job. We have yet to see a single rhino since we have been here.

So whereas yesterday was full of action today is quiet and I reach the end of the road without once lifting my camera. I arrive back in camp just in time to bid farewell to Bob & Katrin, our US/Swiss friends who have just completed an excellent Sweni Trail on foot.

This afternoon I go down the H6 tarred road towards Nwanetsi and then drift back with the sun setting across the grasslands.

Black-backed Jackal
Lesser Grey Shrike

What is very noticeable is how the Red-billed Quelea flocks have now swelled into vast clouds that noisily feed on the grass seeds.

Sunday, 10th March

With another clear sky I set off to Sweni S126 where I am the only vehicle along this oh so attractive road. Although I creep along it willing a leopard to show itself, nothing stirs.

Double-banded Sandgrouse

At the end of the road I turn northward along the S36 towards Rockvale and before long I come across six lions in the road.

After a while I continue and amazingly 200m further on, I come across their mobile larder – a herd of several hundred buffalo.

Back on the tar H7, a group of cars informs me that a cheetah and cub is lying in the grass some 80m off the road. I do succeed in seeing a tail flick but that is all.

High cloud makes for favourable photographic light so I decide to travel along the Timbavati S39 road but again its promise is not matched by the result.

It is quite hot today and after my usual swim I again take the H6 out towards Nwanetsi. The advantage of this road is that the evening traffic is lighter than the other main roads.

Swainson’s Spurfowl

Coming back to the main H1-3 road, I come across something unusual. I have only once ever seen a Long-crested Eagle in Kruger, down at Malalane just across the Crocodile River. So this sight proves most exciting.

Long-crested Eagle

Gate closing time at 6pm hastens my departure from the eagle but just then a lioness comes pushing through the long grass onto the road. So what was rather a quiet day ended quite well – hopefully to be continued tomorrow.