Skukuza 11-12th November

Skukuza 11-12th November

Wednesday, 11th

Cloudy skies and a cool south wind usher in the new day. I am out the camp at 4.30am as usual, across the Sabie and Sand Rivers along the H1-2 mainroad.

I then turn along the Maroela Loop S83 and creep along this lovely road with senses on high alert. But as I have said before, game spotting is rather like fishing – sometimes they bite and sometimes they don’t. After the action the past few days, today ‘they’ are definitely off the bite. Nothing at all stirs.

In these weather conditions photos are bland and dull so I don’t even bother. Which can lead to a very boring, uninteresting blog. Although I do prefer use photos actually taken on the day, conditions (or photos) may be so poor that I may draw from my library so as to illustrate a sighting. When I do this I will state that the photo has been drawn from my library. This should make the blog more interesting without detracting from its accuracy of what we have actually seen.

I rejoin the H1-2, continue to the H13 where I turn towards the Sabie high level bridge. Here I meet the H4-1 main Skukuza – Lower Sabie river road and head downstream. Conditions really are unpleasant with the cool blustery wind and the dull light.

Yellow-billed Kite

I continue all the way to Lower Sabie hardly lifting my camera. The veld is dry and in need of some good rain. They are pumping water into Sunset Dam which is reasonably full. But the wind ruffles the water making it most unattractive. Just one of those days that one sometimes gets in the Kruger – and then suddenly the spectacular happens and all memories of the dull times vanish. The trick is to keep your line in the water and be patient.

Back at camp the park personnel are busy laying out two traps to try and catch the night time prowling hyenas that terrorised some nearby campers last night.

This afternoon I go out along the H11 towards the Paul Kruger Gate, turn onto the S1 Doispane Road and then cut across along the S4 down to the river where I idle along the S3. All is quiet. I meet a vehicle whose occupants tell me that they have just come from the H11 main tarred road where a leopard stood in the middle of the road right next to them.

Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, 12th

The mild front that brought cloud and cooler weather is beginning to break up and blue sky appears. Today I am heading for Malalane to get the Quantum serviced, pick up a parcel and have a haircut. But before I can leave camp, a most agitated African lady comes down from the nearby chalets and suggests that I follow her because “a dead hyena is lying outside her chalet”. Following her I come upon this scene.

One of the Park traps has been successful and a not too fazed hyena is sitting comfortably therein. He had even been having a nap which led the lady to think that he was dead. Anyway, one down but quite a few more to go I should think.

I set out for Malalane in the most pleasant of conditions with the early morning sun playing prettily on the landscape. Some Ellies are drinking at the De Laporte water trough as I pass.

The granite koppies are such a feature of this part of the park.


The bird and animal life is certainly energized by the sun and have stirred themselves after the quietness of yesterday.

Crested Francolin
The Barn Swallows have arrived from their migration in force

Beyond the Afsaal Picnic Site a herd of buffalo are milling about in the road.

As I pass I note that all the Oxpeckers are Yellow-bills. When one considers how rare these were twenty years ago it really is good to see their numbers flourishing.

The conspicuous call of the Striped Kingfisher (similar to the Woodland) alerts me to his presence and I find him perched near the road.

Striped Kingfisher (My Library)

Down near Matjulu bridge two Giraffe are sparring with each other.

I cross the Crocodile River at 7.30am.

At Toyota I am faced by a real Covid inquisition with an enthusiastic member of staff strutting his stuff. I ask him how many people that he knew of in Malalane had caught the dreaded virus to which he rather embassingly replied – “none”. Later at the hairdresser I ask the same question. “Oh, someone in Spar in May tested positive so they closed the shop for a few days. Other than that no one”. Perhaps this blog is not the right place to vent my feelings on the subject.

However, the losses to Kruger’s revenue stream must be colossal. There are just no foreigners here. It really is pleasant having such light traffic on the Park roads and the absence of the irritating tourist bakkies is so striking. But the cost to the tourist industry and to the country does not bear thinking about. And sizeable Malalane has had a rumour of someone testing positive. Oh dear.


I return to Skukuza at 12.45pm with all my chores accomplished. At 4pm I venture out across the low level Sabie bridge and within a Km come across some cars viewing a male lion crouched next to a prone buffalo. But the bush is so thick and viewing is so difficult that I move on. Returning to Skukuza someone tells me of a leopard feeding off a kill at the Lake Panic turnoff along the H11 Kruger Gate road. Picking up Renette we hurry thither but the leopard has just climbed down the tree and disappeared.

These Impala are real cannon-fodder for the leopards.

A rather disjointed day but tomorrow the weather should be good and we are going to really work hard.