Lower Sabie Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
Today, we were moving from Olifants Camp to the Satara Rest Camp, about a 55k (34 miles) drive.
Since it was a short drive for our camp change, we went out from Olifants at 5:30 for a brief morning game drive before breakfast. We saw our first Nyala, a large, dark, handsome antelope, but it was a very quick sighting before it went back into the bush.
Other than that, we didn't see much this morning.
After breakfast at our bungalows, we packed up and drove south to Satara.
Satara is in an area that was far from being pretty. It was dry and brown, with trees and shrubs that didn't have leaves since the rainy season hadn't quite started yet. But that played to our advantage because there are lots of animals, and they can be more easily seen due to the lack of cover. At least that's what we've been told and what we're counting on since we're going to be at Satara for the next twelve nights.
As we drove through the grasslands, we saw a Giraffe ....
In the distance, we could see a herd of elephants and several ostriches.
At Satara, we had lunch on the veranda while we waited for check-in time. A bull elephant walked by right outside the fence.
Again, at the Kruger rest camps, the people are caged while the animals roam free on the outside (and some of the smaller animals roam on the inside as well).
After lunch, we checked into our bungalows - three side-by-side units with clear views out to whatever animals may be walking by.
Again they aren't fancy, but they are more than adequate. Each unit has an outdoor kitchen, and the refrigerator is behind a locking wire mesh door to keep the monkeys at bay.
Jackie informed us not to put any food in the outside cabinets, and anything on top of the refrigerator needed to be far back out of the reach of monkey arms.
As the others were getting settled, we walked the grounds.
Here is a Southern Tree Agama (below left) and a Grey Go-Away Bird (below right) named for its distinctive call - "g'way". A more proper name for the bird is the Grey Lourie, but we never heard anyone here refer to it by that name.
More new birds for us: Chinspot Batis (below left), African Mourning Dove (below center), and Southern Grey-headed Sparrow (below right).
And this is one of our favorite birds here - the African Hoopoe (hoo-poo). This isn't the clearest photo, but it's the best one we have of the crest.
Then it was time for our afternoon game drive. Though we saw several species including a single distant rhino, we were unable to get many good photos. Our best photos were of the Wildebeest, ...
some hippos, ...
an Impala ram, ...
a Warthog boar, ...
and a young Reedbuck ram. The Reedbuck was new for us.
Other than those, it was "distant raptor day".
In trying to identify our African raptors, we learned that distinguishing some of the "brown eagles" was not easy. Particularly difficult is the Tawny Eagle versus the Steppe Eagle. But, in this case we're confident that the eagles in the next two photos are Tawny Eagles. The lighter color of the one helps, but the better indication is the nest. Steppe Eagles don't breed or nest in Africa.
This next one is also a "brown eagle", but at this range it's fairly easy to identify it as a Brown Snake Eagle.
The Martial Eagle below is also brown, but it's not one of the group that is harder to identify except in immature stages. The adults, like this one, are easily distinguishable. They are one of the largest eagles in Africa, and are part of the Kruger "Big Six Birds" list. With this photo, we now have pictures of four of the six.
Below is another eagle that is easy to identify - the Bateleur. We were fortunate to see this one with an older chick.
On our way back to camp, we found this buffalo skull.
We're surprised we haven't seen more of that. The goal of all the animals is just surviving day to day.
As we approached the gate to Satara, these vultures were silhouetted against the darkening sky.
That ended our afternoon game drive, and we finished off the evening grilling out and reflecting on the day. Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds.