Lower Sabie Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
This morning we were ready to leave Satara Camp at 5:30 a.m. when the gate opened. We were going to do a loop drive with a stop for breakfast at the Muzandzeni Picnic Site.
Right out of the gate, we saw a Spotted Hyena on the road.
Next we saw a single lioness, and then a small group of young male lions.
After the lions, we saw another couple of Spotted Hyenas.
And then a Giraffe.
And then we came upon a rhino. It had been a few days since we were close enough to get a rhino picture.
Next was a Red-crested Korhaan.
Ah, and then we saw the colorful Lilac-breasted Roller in great lighting. What a beauty.
Back to the big animals. This was our first elephant of the day, but there would be more.
Somehow, we then spotted a napping Leopard through the brush.
Without good game spotters, you can certainly miss a lot on an African safari.
We finally made it to the picnic site where there were Cape Buffalo drinking at a water pan (with Kudu walking by).
And that, my friends, gave us the "Big Five" for three days in a row, and it was the second day in a row we saw all of them in the first hour and a half of our day. AND, today, I finally got photos of all of them the same day.
We set up at the Muzandzeni Picnic Site and rented two of the gas skottels (frying pan on a pole on a gas tank) to prepare our "breakfast in the bush".
While breakfast was cooking, I took pictures of the Brown-headed Parrot, ....
and the Yellow-billed Hornbills in the trees above us.
It certainly wasn't a struggle to get good hornbill shots.
After our delicious breakfast, we headed back toward Satara taking a different route.
We saw our first Secretary Bird in the park and got a long-distance look at a Side-striped Jackal, which is different than the Black-backed we saw yesterday.
Moving on, we found a Southern Ground Hornbill. This one is a female, and we know that due to the violet patch of skin on the throat. The male's throat skin is entirely red.
Back at camp, people were gathered around this adorable little African Scops Owl that was just sitting in a low tree near the office and restaurant.
It was a very hot day, so we had lunch and then headed to our bungalows to rest in the air conditioning for a couple of hours.
We met back at our van around 4:00 p.m. and headed out for a two-hour afternoon drive. Actually, we didn't go very far. We just drove the short distance to the Nsemani Dam and waited for whatever might show up.
These folks were doing the same, although they seemed much better equipped. They put my rice-bag-window-camera-support to shame.
There was a family of Waterbucks, and this fuzzy calf was very cute.
We also saw a Slender Mongoose and, in a tree nearby, was a Purple Roller. It's another pretty bird, but not nearly as striking as its cousin that we saw earlier today.
Those were nice sightings, but this afternoon was all about the elephants. There always seem to be elephants near the dam, and when they need to cross the road to get to the water, it's an organized event.
The matriarch gathered the herd. We heard her give a trumpet, and the others lined up behind her.
They packed together tightly, and we've noticed that the more vehicles there are in the area, the tighter they group up. The babies are usually in the middle, fully protected.
When she determined it was safe, they all crossed at once.
We love to sit and watch and study all the animals. A good portion of our time is spent doing just that. But the elephants are the most fascinating. The herd dynamics, the communication, and the clear intelligence is amazing.
We gave ourselves just enough time to get back inside the Satara gate. Then it was an early dinner and off to our individual bungalows for the night.
Another grand day in Kruger National Park.