Skukuza 8-9th April

Skukuza 8-9th April

Monday, 8th April

With the gates opening at 6am, it is too much to expect to be the first car along most roads. With our time now limited at Skukuza we decide to do our last trip down the beautiful Salietjie (S30) road. So after our coffee on the high-level bridge, we trail down this oh so attractive road – behind a few other cars. The light and weather are just perfect but again little stirs.

We reach the end of the road near Mafourteen, have our breakfast and then creep back up the same road.

Buffalo standing beyond a slight rise in the road.

One of the last of this season’s Carmine Bee-eaters entertains us for a while followed by a White-fronted Bee-eater.

Carmine Bee-eater
White-fronted Bee-eater

Other than that nothing disturbs my camera. Which is such a pity. The scene just cries out for something special but with water plentiful, the rivers cease to be the magnets that they usually are.

The cloud cover thickens up at midday and this afternoon we head for coffee on that great dome of a koppie – Granokop. Here one can alight from one’s vehicle and survey the great expanse of bushveld that stretches away in all directions. Idling back to camp a sliver of clear sky on the western horizon allows for the most magnificent and unexpected sunset.

Tuesday, 9th April

With a bright, clear sky, we snatch a final couple of hours of early morning sunlight around the Stevenson-Hamilton koppies.

Again, a tourist bakkie races past us along the S114 gravel road and then stops to view a hyena mother and pups in the road. Cars pile up behind us and it all ends in more unpleasantness. I suppose that these tour guides are always mindful of the tip that they will be getting and tend to behave in the most selfish manner.

We decide to follow a route with the least traffic so take the S22 and S112 roads past the koppies and beyond to the H3 main road. It is so beautiful with the rising sun behind us but with the long grass it is difficult to see anything that is not in the road itself. Renette though does spot a Pearl- spotted Owlet.

Skukuza really needs careful planning – preferably coming here with a 4.30am gate opening time when few vehicles are about. Other than my Sunday a week ago, our sightings have been disappointing given how much effort we put in, but Lake Panic is always a huge drawcard for me – at any time.

Back in camp, we quickly pack up and by 10am we are on the H1-1 road heading for Pretoriuskop where we are booked for six nights.

A Koppie along the H1-1

We look forward to this historic and homely camp that is set in the most scenic surroundings.

At midday we refresh in the swimming pool which is built into the granite rock and is certainly the longest in the Park. This is followed by a really good meal at the Wimpy restaurant. I must give Wimpy some credit here. They have toned down their gaudy red colouring and the food is tasty and healthy.

This evening, the sky is stormy as we circle the koppies that overlook Pretoriuskop camp.

Shabeni Koppie
Manungu Koppie

Meanwhile the sun sets behind some fiery clouds out west over the escarpment.

It is stimulating to change camps and even though we know that Pretoriuskop is not the best for game spotting, we are really happy to be in this quieter but beautiful part of Kruger.