Skukuza 22-23rd October

Skukuza 22-23rd October

Tuesday 22nd

At last the extreme heat of the past few days ends as a front sweeps up from the south bringing leaden skies and even a little drizzle. As my main object is photography, we go out later today as the light brightens.

First of all, a little Bearded Robin poses for us at the side of the road.

The highlight of our morning though, is the sighting of our first African Cuckoo of the summer. When we think back to early this year when we could not get within 50m of the many birds that we saw, I am delighted that this bird sits quite calmly for my photo and I finally get a shot of it taking off.

We turn around before the Nkuhlu Picnic site and back at the H12 high-level bridge we come across our resident African Harrier-hawks which are apparently nest building close by.

Thereafter back to camp. Early afternoon and we set out for the De Laporte water trough some 10Km’s west along the H1-1 Pretoriuskop road. A light drizzle continues to fall. We arrive at our destination and find a mass of vehicles viewing some sleeping lions. These are not our best viewing conditions so we do not linger long before returning to camp.

Here we find an old friend, Dave McGaw, has coincidently moved into the campsite right next to ours. Dave was a teacher at, dare I say it, Grantleigh School from where we sometimes went on trips together to the surrounding game reserves. Lovely to see Dave again in prime health.

Wednesday, 23rd

Again we leave camp a little later this morning because of the dark sky. For a change we cross over the Sabie and Sand Rivers along the main H1-2 road and then turn off to potter along the beautiful Maroela Loop S83.

But again this lovely road serves up a blank. Joining the main road we come back to the high bridge next to the Sand River a watch an immature Fish Eagle below eyeing fish in a pool.

We then continue to the H12 where we cut across to the Sabie River again. After days of +40 degree heat I find it hard to believe that I am switching on the vehicle’s heater because of the chilly air.

And now Kruger throws up one of its surprises in the form of my favourite eagle – a Crowned Eagle. The first one that I have ever seen in Kruger. Unfortunately, he is perched behind a branch and through the bush I just cannot get a good view of him. Here is a very blown up photo of this real”street fighter” of an eagle.

There are lions all the way down to Lower Sabie as we make our way down the river road. They are currently pumping water into Sunset Dam to maintain its level.

Thereafter back up the road back to Skukuza. Which all sounds rather boring. Far from it. There are little snippets of interest all along the road. I don’t think that we have had our fair share of luck with Skukuza leopards as others relate to us their exciting sightings. Win some, lose some, we have been so fortunate to see other things – such as the Clawless Otters.

This evening we go for a short drive down the road and enjoy our coffee with a herd of ellies drinking down in the riverbed.

Across the river a lioness watches the sun sinking as a fiery ball in the west.