Skukuza 4-5th April

Skukuza 4-5th April

Thursday, 4th April

Today we bid honeymooning Gareth and Sarah farewell as they begin the long trip back to KZN. It is a lovely clear day today but I am afraid that we have other matters to attend to. I move back into the real world as, at 8 o’clock, I have a routine doctor’s check-up with the Skukuza doctor.

Before that though, we amble down the Sabie H4-1 loops which are so pretty at sunrise.

The doctor tells me how happy he is to be working in the peace and safety of Kruger – just like all of us.

Thereafter, we drive out along the Doispan road (S1) heading for Hazyview for medicines and groceries. At the Nyamundwa stream towards the end of the road, I can see down below the present embankment to the old road and causeway where, sixty years ago, I can remember seeing my first leopard ever. What a thrill it gave me as a young boy. Even in those days though, tourists could be a nuisance. While watching this leopard an old Wolseley car came down into the streambed and its screeching brakes were too much for the leopard which fled.

Hazyview is a mass of seething humanity and after a trying time sorting out muddled scripts, we retreat back into the peace of beloved Kruger.

Late afternoon, I snatch an hour or so to go out over the Sand River and the Maroela road (S83) which again is so beautiful in the evening light.

Maroela Loop S83

Wispy cirrus clouds suggest that the front that is moving up from the Cape will arrive tomorrow. Back in camp and for the first time ever, Honorary Rangers are moving through the camp checking booking forms. They tell Renette that they are putting a stop to the practice of campers moving freely from one camp to another at variance to their true bookings. Oh dear.

Friday, 5th April

It is a lovely calm, bright morning so leaving Renette in camp, I move to Lake Panic at 6am.

A raft of hippos spend the morning close to the hide. It is amusing to watch one hippo watching intently as he gently blows bubbles.

Herewith follows a series of photos of what kept me absorbed for four hours.

Water Lily
African Jacana

White-breasted Cormorant
Squacco Heron
Immature Malachite Kingfisher
Green-backed Heron

At 10am the south wind begins to blow strongly, conditions become unpleasant and I return to camp.

The sky clouds over and late afternoon I wander down the Sabie river loops H4-1. In typical Kruger fashion, the unexpected happens. I come across a 3m python lying at the side of the road, calm enough for me to manoeuvre and get some photos. I have ‘stitched’ together (rather poorly) a series of photos to give an idea of the whole snake.

After a while he swings around and with surprising speed, takes off into the grass.

Heading back to camp, the sky is very dark to the west with flashes of lightning. In the gloom I see two Verreaux’s Eagle Owls on a branch but it is too dark to photograph.

Back in camp amid thunder and lightning, the rain begins to fall but, having forgotten my rain gauge at Satara, I can only guess that about 5-8mm fell.