Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Back in South Africa!

By far the easiest way to get to Kruger NP.

Arrived in Jo'berg evening of 13th March, spent a pleasant evening in Sunrock Guesthouse & then caught the morning flight to Nelspruit. Elmon was there in my truck to pick me up as my old friend Jacob (who normally looks after my truck) died two days ago! Terrible,  shocking news. Had a long chat with the guys at Palm Motors then on my way home.

The lush view from my veranda!

 Arrived in Sabie Park around 4 pm on 14th March. Nice evening on the veranda with Spotted Hyena & African Wood Owl calling. The owl is the first one recorded for quite some time now. Great to have it back!

Walking very unconcerned about my presence.

Had a wound on its flank.

Spent all day with two girls cleaning the house as it was in a terrible mess. Last time I was home was in October. They did a fantastic job & the house is once more looking great again. On my way to the TV room to check e-mails had prolonged views of a Leopard on the track in front of my truck! Brilliant stuff! Managed some photos, but always walking away from me.

Lorraine & her two children.

Sandy & her three month old baby!

The dam at Lower Sabie is very full.

Baby Nile Crocodile


Cape Buffalo, having a bit of down time 
in a mud hole.

The girls & their milkshakes!

As a thank you to Lorraine & Sandy for working so hard yesterday on my house (from 7 am to 5 pm)! I took them on a day visit into Kruger National Park. They live in Huntington right next to the park but had never been inside! So early doors on the 16th March I picked them up with their three young children. We enjoyed a lovely time together & the kids were so well behaved. What was interesting was the reaction from people with me with two young black girls & three tiny infants, who are also black. The elderly white South Africans were disapproving, one guy even tutting in my face & shaking his head to his wife! However, what was really interesting was the reaction of the black people. For example the staff at Mugg & Bean at Lower Sabie were so friendly, one girl even sitting with us while we had our meal! I have never, ever enjoyed such excellent service from staff inside this national park. Obviously the new South Africa has still got a long way to go! 

Martial Eagle with snake as prey.

I have included these terrible photos for a reason.
Look at the length of white in the tail (male)

Long buff outer tail (female)

Square tailed Nightjar

The park was very green & lush & game viewing was difficult, but we had a great day out. I had forgotten what it is like to have babies in tow! I dropped the girls & their children at home & then went to the TV room in Sabie Park to check e-mails, seeing three Square tailed Nightjars on the tracks.

Skukuaza Golf Club in wonderful afternoon light.

White backed Vulture, showing the white back!

Brown Snake Eagle

Yellow billed Hornbill
European Roller
Southern Carmine Bee-eater

These intra-African migrants will be leaving soon.

European Swallows getting ready
 for heading north.

Amazing to think these birds will be in Russia soon!

European Roller in good light.

Brown headed Kingfisher

Long tailed Shrike

Spotted Backed Weaver

On 17th March went into KNP for a short run via the Bird Hide & the Golf Club. It was a very hot sunny day & wildlife viewing was quiet.

Dawn on the S3.

Despite all the rain, this river
 is not completely flowing.

Cape Buffalo

Getting ready for mating

She is really not that interested!

White Rhino

Blue Wildebeast

On 18th I was up before dawn & had a run into Kruger. Covered the S3 & then down the tar all the way to Malelane. Best sightings were a nice breeding herd of Cape Buffalo & 12 White Rhino.

The very scenic Crocodile River,
which forms the southern boundary 
of the national park.

I then drove to Nelspruit to put my fridge/freezer in for repair yet again! Came back to Sabie Park & spent the afternoon on the veranda where the Vervet Monkeys were going nuts. They had a predator beneath the trees, almost certainly a Leopard but I couldn't see it. After about 40 minutes the monkeys gave up, but they were very upset!

The view from Stevenson Hamilton 
on a very overcast day.

Lion, with not a care in the world!

It came within a foot of my head, hence the hazy
 photo as I shot through a rapidly closed window!
Make sense?

A female looks on.
What is all the fuss about?

Swainson's Francolin, calling.

Wahlberg's Eagle

Pale phase individual.

White faced Duck

On the 19th I was again up before dawn & went into Kruger. I drove along the S3, the Waterhole Road, Transport Dam & back via the Stevenson Hamilton Memorial. It was dull & very overcast, but then the heavens opened & had heavy rain for a couple of hours. Game viewing was slow going but nice views of a group of Lions.

The light was just amazing!

European Roller sunbathing in the afternoon light.

Found this little gem on the track close to my house
went I went for lunch.

What a brilliant little creature!

Feeding on the Sabie Park side of the river.

Went back to Sabie Park for lunch & then into Kruger again. Didn't see much but the light on the landscape was amazing.