11th to 14th October 2020
Our friends went to Satara a day earlier than us. We arrived as the rain paused making our life easier in setting up in the campground. Our friends had experienced some rather heavy rain during a big storm that night. We don’t normally put our sides up but we did while here in Satara in case there was a combination of wind as well as rain.
Exploration round the campsite was limited due to the heavy rain. It seemed the lions were enjoying the cooler weather. There were 6 lions close to camp – as usual lying down – beside the road in a rather bedraggled wet state.
The following morning we decided to drive along the S100. However when we got there the road was closed. We later learned that our friends had got there at opening time and the road was open. So we headed along the H6 to the N’wanetsi picnic site with the intention of visiting the Sweni hide close by. Not to be, the road to the hide was closed too.
However we did get a slight (maybe more) fright as a lone bull elephant came crashing out of the bushes.
Having travelled thus far into the Kruger, we at last had our first sighting of a Black-backed Jackal.
From there we went to Gudzani Dam along the S41 and enjoyed having the place to ourselves.
As we passed the S100 we noticed that the road was open so we went back that way only to find it was still closed at the other end much to our annoyance. Somehow we managed to drive round the blocked road.
It was along the S100 that we had some good sightings of a variety of birds.
There was even an African Harrier-Hawk searching for food.
Driving along the H7 we stopped at the Nsemani Dam with Brown-headed Parrots flying alongside the road right next to us.
Further along on the Timbavati Road we were fortunate to see 7 wild dogs. They were lying beside the roar in all sorts of contorted positions. One rose and promptly flopped down again.
We had heard good reports about a locally run campsite in Manyeleti. A reserve adjacent to the Kruger near the Orpen Gate. The next day we all decided to check it out. We were under-impressed. Bare stony and open campsite. However there was a large dam close by with numerous Collared Pratincoles flying about.
On the way photos were taken of several animals and birds.
In the 2 full days we were there we did identify 106 different bird species. Click on the link below to review our records.
From Satara we went to Letaba for 3 nights.
14th to 17th October 2020
The campsite at Lataba was only half full and we camped on the fence line for a change with bushes either side so although it was not necessarily that shady it was private from neighbours.
Both game and birds were unusually scarce in the area.
One of the animal highlights at our time in the Letaba area was seeing inquisitive Hyena pups alongside the car.
The African Scops Owl called each night in the camp – a magic sound.
This was well before the recent floods so the rivers were not that full and the landscape was parched.
The roadsides were lined by bright yellow bushes creating a colourful impression especially in the early morning light.
There were few campsite birds. Not surprising perhaps due to C-19 and the closure of the camps and the birds having to forage elsewhere. No easy snacks for them.
Stopping at Mingerhout Dam for a tea break we noticed a Black Egret below the dam wall and loads of Hippos frollicking in the water below.
Here are a few bird photos from our time in Letaba.
Despite the lack of many bird sightings, Sally managed to record 111 different bird species – seen and or heard. Click here to see the list.
Sally and Paul
PS Part 4 will follow soon with our stay at Tsendze.