We pack up at sunrise after some lovely days spent at the laidback Satara campsite. There is plenty of space and one just pitches camp wherever a gap is available – well clear of the neighbours.
We make an uneventful trip southward to Skukuza arriving at 10am. The tailend of a cold front sends some high cloud across the sky and a couple of raindrops fall at midday but by 2pm it has cleared again. The weather is so mild and calm in mid-winter that we don’t even erect the caravan awning. Can it really be mid-winter?
With my photographic computer giving trouble again, I must head the long way to Nelspruit to have it repaired. Following my “jamming” incident a few weeks ago, I prefer to leave my camera equipment behind this time. By 8.30am we are at the computer shop in Nelspruit but we must wait until midday for the repair work to be completed.
We arrive back in Skukuza at 2.30pm to find that David (son) and family have already arrived. Later we travel out to the Sand River for evening coffee. It does not taking sharp-shooting David to spy a leopard stalking through the bushes near the Sand River causeway. I am afraid that photography must really now take a back seat. With the most welcome distraction of grandchildren on one’s knee, it is seldom that the camera can be used over the next few days.
Today is Renette’s birthday and we are going down the H4-1 Sabie River road for breakfast at the Mugg & Bean restaurant.
Again, this great Sabie road is free of game and we don’t see much.
On our return, we do see an African Hawk Eagle.
Back on the H12 high level bridge over the Sabie river, a cluster of cars tell us that there is a leopard beneath the deck. After a while, a bushbuck bolts from the nearby reeds and, empty handed, the leopard strolls out and away into some trees.
Later, after a birthday lunch on the Cattle Baron deck, we head out west along the Doispan S1 road. The long weekend traffic is so heavy along this route but the idea is to take the quieter linking S4 road down to the S3 river road circling back to Paul Kruger Gate. But the road is disappointingly blocked off so we continue to the very full dam near Phabeni Gate.
Coming back to Skukuza after sunset, we are told that the jam of cars are because of a Pangolin at the side of the road. All we see is some waving grass.
Bright and early we are all off to the great Nwatimhiri S21 road. At the Renoster Kopppies waterhole we pause for coffee and watch the sun slip over the horizon at 6.37am. Thereafter, we begin our creep along the S21. We haven’t gone far before we come across a pride of lions in the road, resplendent with the early sunbeams on their tawny coats. .
I really get the impression that lions may becoming resistant to TB as their condition seems to be improving so much.
Breakfast at the revamped Nkuhlu Picnic Site on the banks of the Sabie.
This afternoon we head out along the Doispan S1 and then take the S65 heading south. But, as is the case everywhere, the roads are very quiet.
Dave, Steph and children must return home to Johannesburg today. This morning then, we are going to travel down to the Biyamithi Weir and then on to Afsaal for breakfast. This takes in the outstandingly beautiful S23 Biyamithi river road which again is so quiet. Sadly we see no trace whatsoever of rhino ‘middens’ let alone the animals themselves. I fear that rhinos are going to become very scarce in the future.
The pond at the Biyamithi weir is now quite big, no doubt scoured of by flood waters.
The Afsaal Picnic spot is busy as usual and after breakfast we bid farewell to Dave and family who are moving on the Jo’burg. Renette and I return to Skukuza where we enjoy another perfect winter day outside the caravan reading and playing cards. We are interrupted by a very friendly camp worker who comes to wish me a “happy father’s day”. The cheerfulness of the Kruger staff is a feature here. However, this happy fifty year old then rather spoils things when he tells me that he has four daughters, five sons with another on the way – so he has had a very happy father’s day.
Dear blog followers. For a number of reasons, this has been a very disjointed and threadbare report back from Kruger these past six weeks. Tomorrow we ourselves leave for Johannesburg before moving on to Cape Town later in the week. We did intend to spend the testing Cape winter in Kruger and KZN but family commitments down in the Cape take precedent. I am at my happiest in Kruger so I do hope that we will be returning soon.