Skukuza 14th November

Skukuza 14th November

This morning is the coolest so far with the temperature at 13℃ as we set off under clear, still conditions. The plan is to do the Maroela Loop and then proceed on to Salitje to breakfast at our lookout point over the Sabie.

So, we cross over the low-level Sabie bridge and pass a large number of vultures and hyenas that are doing their cleaning up job on the buffalo kill of two days ago. Coffee on the Sand River bridge and then onto the S83 Maroela Loop. In the past I have described this road as ‘promising so much but delivering so little’. Today this is going to change.

We suddenly come upon this amazing scene right next to the road. I don’t think that one could have posed this group better if one tried.

Judging by their bloody muzzles, they have just caught something and they are still hyped up with energy. All by ourselves, they give us a show to remember.

Down the road a cautious hyena, with a scarred lip, keeps his distance as he will be no match for 20 odd wild-dogs.

Another interested party is a Male Bateleur that flies in, perches in a tree and then rather brazenly flies down onto the ground looking for titbits amongst the dogs.

For me, wild-dog can be rather boring as they often snooze in the shade. Not this lot. They entertain us richly for a full hour with only one other well-behaved car for company. Buzzing with contentment we join the mainroad and stop for more coffee on the bridge overlooking the Sand River. Below some Lesser Striped Swallows are sunning themselves on a branch.

Female Chinspot Batis (My Library)

We abandon our plan to visit Salitje and amble back along the banks of the most beautiful Sand River which somehow so epitomises Kruger.

At the hippo pool on the Sand River bridge we note the frenzied nest building by the Village Weavers.

What a pleasure is the month of November with the roads so quiet as to allow one to stop for some time on the narrow single lane bridge.

Not so the Sabie River Bridge which is much busier but I do manage to snatch a photo looking upstream to the railway bridge and the new hotel coaches strung out thereon.

Marabou Stork, Egyptian Geese, Little Egret, Buffalo

Dave, Steph and family duly arrive from Jo’burg at 3pm. At 5pm we take an evening drive out across the Sabie and Sand rivers. It really is remarkable how many Nyala one now sees in the Park whereas twenty years ago they were a rarity.

Female Nyala (My Library)
Male Nyala (My Library)

So the scene is set for 8 delightful days with grandchildren and family – maybe not conducive to photography but something to treasure.