Skukuza 25-26th August

Skukuza 25-26th August

Wednesday, 25th

Biyamithi calls so at 6am we are out the gates travelling west along the H1-1 and then turn down the main H3 road towards Malelane. The sky is hazy but cloudless making for really golden early morning light. We turn onto the gravel S113 which cuts across to the Biyamithi River road S23 and scene of our wild-dog excitement last week.

Lilac Breasted Roller (My Library)

But today all is quiet and we reach the weir with nothing unusual. The floods of last summer have certainly cleared out the weir and a large sheet of water stretches back from the wall. Proceeding along the S114 we come across a hyena den with some youngsters playing in the road.

Thereafter we travel along the badly corrugated S114 to the lovely Mlambane river road S118.
On a whim and upon joining the main H3 road again, we decide to visit Bergendal Restcamp for a coffee break. Just beyond the Matjulu stream a collection of cars indicate a male leopard up a tree feeding on an impala.
I can think of eight times that we have seen a leopard on this short half Km of road. It really is amazing. We enjoy Bergendal and it is good to see it again. Thereafter quickly back to Skukuza camp and lunch at the restaurant deck next to the Sabie. What a privileged life we live.

This afternoon we go out on our favourite drive across the Sand River and then round to the H12 high-level bridge over the Sabie.

Steenbok (My Library)
The Sabie River downstream from the H12 bridge.

Driving back up the H4-1 to camp, the sun disappears behind a bank of clouds to the west. A couple of hours later growls of thunder and lightning flashes remind us that summer is not far away.

Thursday, 26th

Renette has bravely stuck to the task despite the trip being rather barren. Whereas I have my camera to stimulate me, her heart is in our new home in Somerset West in the Cape. So,we decide that she is going to fly down and begin ordering things there and we book her on the midday flight from Skukuza to Jo’burg today. I will continue here until Werner and Noleen (our cousins from the Freestate) arrive on 5th September and take over our caravan for a couple of weeks. I will then follow Renette to the Cape.

As a send off for her, Renette chooses to do the Salitje S30 for the last time. It is cloudy and again we do not see much. But in true Kruger tradition just as our spirits are sinking, we come back over the H12 high-level bridge and our attention is drawn to two Ratels (Honey Badgers) active in the riverbed below.

One stops to scratch his chin and then ………….
……… rolls onto his back and scratches his tummy.

What remarkable animals they are, never dull and always on the go. Of course their courage is legendary and they are utterly fearless. The following video from Youtube bears this out.

Honey Badger Rescues Her Baby from Leopard – YouTube

Back to camp where Renette collects her last belongings and then boards her flight. I spend the afternoon packing up ready for my return to Satara. I do hope it is more productive this time.