Skukuza 5-8th February

Skukuza 5-8th February

First of all, apologies for the sudden silence from me. You may remember the mysterious disappearance of my January blog which was followed by the malfunctioning of the post notification to you. I had a message from my site admin people today (18th Feb) to say that they had finally corrected the problem. Rather frustrating but nevertheless – here goes.

Regular followers of this blog will know that my main stimulation in the Park is photography. Since my last blog, the weather has been heavily overcast making for bland, uninteresting photographs. What is the point of boring all of you with dull photos?

During Thursday night (4th) 30mm of rain falls here at Skukuza. But out west in the Pretoriuskop/White River area another deluge sends the Sabie river again into flood mode. Reports have it the White River has received 500mm in the past month. Friday is rainy, windy and miserable – not too good for game viewing.

Saturday, 6th It is heavily overcast but the air still as I take off for Leeupan up the H1-2 again. Then on to Tshokwane for my customary pie. Tshokwane is a shining example in Kruger of the urgent need for privatization. It is a superbly run little oasis. I next visit a brimming Orpen Dam. The Tshokwane area in particular was ravaged by drought only two months ago but now everywhere is covered by long, succulent grass.

I then take the H10 main road towards Lower Sabie over the Nkumbe Hills.

Muntshe Mountain

I then turn onto the S128 gravel road but the grass is so long that I see little. Water is lying everywhere in the veld.

You may remember that Lower Sabie was closed early in January because of a Covid outbreak. I am therefore most surprised to find the camp open and fully functional. Reception informs me that they have been open since 29th January but there was never a mention of that on the Sanparks website.

Saturday is a long day for me and despite me travelling a good 250Km’s I took not one photograph. Just nothing special. I end the day at the very grassy and gloomy Lake Panic.

Sunday 7th Renette joins me today as we make our way down the Salitje S30 road heading for Mugg & Bean at Lower Sabie for breakfast.

This is the Salitje Road snaking it way through beautiful wood and grasslands. In the photo above we cross a dry, sandy streambed in the hollow and some 40m from the vehicle we find a big male leopard lying on the sand. But he is not comfortable with our presence and gets up taking refuge behind a bush.

We push on to the end of the road and then visit Mlondozi Dam which is brimful. These grasslands have such powers of recovery after months of drought. But despite the thick carpet of long grass we have not seen a quelea or even heard a quail. Most strange. I don’t know if it is the ageing eyes but despite travelling through these beautiful lands we see little of interest.

This afternoon I go out on the Doispane S1 road out west.

Monday, 8th For the first time, today dawns bright with the sun rising at 5.35am. I am all by myself as I again creep along the Salitjie S30. The light at last makes it possible for me to begin photographing and even though my subjects are only the usual, I enjoy myself. Here are some of the photos taken.

The “10Km Pond” along the Salitje Road
The Sabie River
Lilac-breasted Roller
European Roller
Natal Spurfowl
White-fronted Bee-eater
Brown-crowned Tchagara

Coming back up the H4-1 river road I take one of those loops and come across this battle scarred warrior resting. Not another car in sight.