Satara 9-10th May

Satara 9-10th May

Thursday, 9th May

Today we head north along the main road and then after 7Km’s, cut across east along the S90 “Old Main Road”. The lily covered pond at Mavumbye is fast shrinking and I fear that by October it may well be dry. We pause here watching the kingfishers diving and the herons and crakes going about their business.

Nearby a small herd of buffalo are grazing on the dry wintery grass.

Note the Yellow-billed Oxpeckers

Kori Bustards, zebra, tchagaras, wilderbeest line the road and we are kept busy. Already a warm ‘berg’ wind is blowing and despite us only being a month away from mid-winter, the temperature is forecast to reach the mid-thirties – ahead of the cold front moving up from the south.

We turn down the S41 but the light deteriorates rapidly. All the watercourses are bone dry but fortunately Gudzani Dam is full. Here we stop for our breakfast before moving quickly up the S100 river road to be back in camp by 10am. So hot is it that we venture into the swimming pool where the water is cold.

This evening we go a short distance up the H1-4 main road north just as the south wind begins blowing hard and the temperature drops. A bank of cloud covers the sun but just at sunset at 5.15pm the sun sinks below the cloud to give us a traditional ‘Satara sunset’.

Friday, 10th May

The strong south wind has subsided during the night and this morning is most pleasantly cool with high cloud. We decide to tackle the beautiful Timbavati S39 so head northwards. Just before we cut across along the S127 gravel road, we pass two placid white rhinos grazing near the road.

Timbavati is perfect today and we are primed to find a leopard. Before long we come across some snorting impala gazing intently across the grasslands and we make out a cat sitting upright in the grass – leopard like. But it turns out to be a young lion.

Marred only by the bad corrugations in the road, the drive is splendid. At one point towards the end we come across Lappet-faced, White-headed and White-backed Vultures feeding on something. But they are well screened from us by grass and bushes and we do not have a clear view of them.

A fine specimen of a Lappet-faced Vulture.

Back on the main Orpen H7 road we head back for Satara. A line of cars on the road above Nsemani Dam alerts us to a pride of 18 lions on the far bank.

Ellies, waterbuck, Saddle-billed Storks, hippos, crocs and others provide plenty of interest.

Today really is beautiful and with a now clear sky, we set out for Sweni this afternoon. It is magnificent in the late afternoon light with ellies, buffalo, giraffe and impala about.

Rutting Impala Ram
Pearl-spotted Owlet

What a great day with so much interest throughout the day. Satara is such a wonderful part of Kruger with so little traffic on the roads and so many varied roads to explore.