Skukuza 5th November

Skukuza 5th November

A dark, cool morning sees us leave camp a little later at 5.15am. We want to see how our leopard is doing along the H1-2 near the Sand River.

Just short of the Sand River bridge we come across a pack of about fifteen wild-dogs milling about in the road.

They are being followed by six hyenas that no doubt wish to join in once the dogs have killed.

At the Mutlumuvi bridge we look for the dead impala at the base of the Jackalberry tree and yes…. it has disappeared. A lone hyena is present which suggests that our leopard is up the tree feeding, but because of the dense foliage, we cannot see anything. We decide to settle down to our coffee with cars whizzing by, but after a while Renette explodes with “there it is”. And sure enough through a little gap we spy our wide eyed lady staring at us through the leaves.

After a while she rises and surveys the surrounds….

……… before descending to the ground. I anticipate that she will head for a nearby pool of water and position us accordingly. She obliges and we are treated to a marvellous sight as she slakes her thirst for a full five minutes.

She then wanders off into some woodland leaving behind the hyena which gazes wistfully at the impala carcass left up the tree.

With the show now over, we move on to the H12 road, cross the Sabie river and head down the river road. Yesterday Renette was very sharp in spying a Goliath Heron standing on a nest some way off the road. Today we were fortunate to see two chicks rear up when the adult flew back to the nest.

Whilst watching the herons a flock of Retz’s Helmetshrikes alight on a nearby tree.

Retz’s Helmetshrike

This is followed by the noisy Green Wood-hoopoes.

We return to camp at 10.30am elated after our eventful morning. The sky clears at midday and we enjoy lunch on the restaurant deck, a swim later and then our final afternoon trip out across the Sand River, across to the Sabie and back to camp on a glorious evening.

I never thought that I would be saying this, given the crowds of Skukuza, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the time we have spent here. The Sabie river is a magnet for game and birds during the dry season and we enjoyed continuous action on our drives. Tomorrow we move on to Lower Sabie for three weeks during which time a long line of family and friends will begin visiting us. If only the rains would begin.