Day 4 - 19 August, 2010
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– 19 August, 2010
On our last morning
at Crocodile Bridge we were greeted by an absolutely gorgeous sunrise.
Since we were moving
on and would be at Satara for our next sleep, we had to pack everything up and
load it into the car, so our start was rather late.
It’s nearly 140 km. (87 miles) from Crocodile Bridge to Satara so we
decided to stick to the tarred roads for most of the trip.
However, after an hour or so of seeing not much but Impala we decided to
do a 10 km. stretch of dirt, just before Lower Sabie Campground.
At about the 9 km. point on this road, we encountered these two bull
The first was
traveling parallel to the road and was no bother at all.
The second was HUGE, and preferred walking on the road.
When I say he was huge I’m not exaggerating.
Notice the size of his tusks, and how much of his trunk is dragging on
the ground! He reached a tree that
he fancied, and turned sideways and proceeded to have his breakfast.
He never did
completely get off the road, and every time we started to creep forward, he
would start to turn towards us. So
we’d back up. After over a half
hour of this game, we decided to give him a break.
We turned around and retraced the whole 9 km back to the tarred road and
then went on our way. There are some
situations one just needs to walk away from and this was one of them!
An hour or so after
the elephant encounter, we came across a couple of Buffalos, and this one
presented a perfect
photo op! He is my new Avatar!
At Lower Sabie Dam,
we found this Goliath Heron,
and a Pied
panorama of Giraffes. How many are
This turkey sized
bird is a Southern Ground Hornbill.
He walks on tiptoe,
and has a call that would wake the dead, a very loud booming “oomph, oomph”,
particularly in the morning. Hansom
fellow, isn’t he?
A short side trip
off the tarred road brought us to Orpen Dam which boasts not only a place where
you can get out and stretch your legs, but Rest
Rooms! In Kruger, Rest Rooms are the
only things rarer than Cheetah and Wild Dogs.
From the lookout
point there, we were able to watch a large group of hippos, basking in the sun.
The large green
expanse in the last picture, and the green stuff on the hippo’s backs is a
floating plant, Pistia Stratiotes (water
lettuce), an alien weed in S. Africa which originally came from South America.
attention to us as she leisurely crossed the road and wandered off into the
A bit further down
the road we came upon two stately giraffe attempting to find a bit of shade from
the hot sun.
Just off the tarred
road, near Sweni waterhole, we came upon a game drive vehicle which had stopped
to observe a couple of Ellies. As we
watched, the large male seemed to be chasing the smaller female
and pushing her with
intentions became clear
And our first
thought was, OMG he’ll crush her, as he was easily 3 times her size.
But, no worry.
When elephants mate, the male actually stands on his hind legs and the
female bears almost no weight at all. If
all goes well, in about 22 months a new calf will be born.
(Yes, 22 months! Elephants
have the longest gestation period of any land mammal.)
We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have witnessed this event,
as not many people get to see it, live!
Later on at a
waterhole near Satara, we snapped this neat picture of a Grey Heron, a Crocodile
and a Saddlebilled Stork.
This little Steenbok
was standing nearby.
A little further on
this male Waterbuck laying in the shade caught our eye.
We had arrived at
Satara with time to spare before we had to be inside the camp. (I should mention
that all the camps within Kruger are fenced and gated, and the gates are closed
from 6:00 PM until 6:00 AM. If
you’re not in by 6:00 PM, you will be fined!)
So we set off for a short ride down one of the nearby dirt roads.
Suddenly, before we knew what was happening, we found ourselves quite
literally in the middle of a buffalo herd!
They were on both
sides of the road, in front of us and behind us.
Not much for us to
do except sit and watch them have their supper!
Which is what we did.
In time, they all
went on their way, and we still had time to make it back to camp before they
closed the gate.
Here’s a shot of
our bungalow at Satara
with it’s spacious
outdoor kitchen and sitting area.
The interior is cosy
And the conical
thatched roof is neat.
I’m sure the
thatched roof was home to all kinds of interesting creatures, but I kept that
thought to myself, since Jen was doing most of the driving, and needed her rest!
The last wildlife
sighting of the day came well after dark, when we watched this Honey Badger
tearing apart our neighbor’s trash
Sorry, no sunset
tonight – we were too busy with the buffalo herd!
Gray Go-away Bird
Southern Ground Hornbill
Lilac Breasted Roller
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