5th to 7th November 2020
On our way through the park we always stop at roadside water and especially at some of the larger pans just off the main roads. It was no different this time as we drove down from Balule to Lower Sabie. Most of the pans had a decent amount of water in them. It was at one of these pans that not only were there a number of animal species as well as birds. By chance I looked down to the edge closest to our car. And what did we see. Some beaurtiful little birds which we had not seen for quite a few years – African Quail-finch.
In the sweltering heat and humidity that was a great sighting.
At Lower Sabie we found the campsite we had used previously to be empty so we set up camp there. The campsite was busy so we were happy to have found this spot.
A few habitat photos of the area.
The weather followed us down from Balule – hot (39 to 41 C) and humid. No fun at night despite the use of a fan. Much of our time was spent lolling in the pool. Eventually it got to us and we left the Kruger 2 days early
We tried to visit the Ntandanyathi Hide but it was closed so we continued to Crocodile Bridge and then on to Mpondo Dam. Too hot for many of the animals except elephants having fun at Mpondo Dam.
We also went north to Mlondozi Dam but again the bush was quiet.
The best viewing was both along the main road to Skukuza and Sunset Dam right outside Lower Sabie gate.
Here are some of the sightings which we photographed as we drove around.
A male Steenbuck was very interested in performing with a female but she would have none of it.
We had an odd encounter with a Red-billed Hornbill. It was in the middle of the road and would not move out of the way as we got closer. Eventually we drove right up alongside it and it still would not fly or move. I opened the car door and it stayed put. I got out to make it fly but it would not. Eventually I picked it up and placed it on the verge with no resistance. I could not leave it in the middle of the road where it was likely to be hit by a car. Looking back we surmised that it may have been stunned or else bitten by a snake.
Sunset Dam is probably the most frequented Dam in the Kruger. Not only because of its proximity to Lower Sabie Camp enabling quick access to early morning and evening viewing but also because there are resident Crocodiles and Hippos always to be seen. It is also one of the favourite Dams where other animals and birds frequent.
There appears to be a resident Black-crowned Night-Heron there as well. We saw one in the same place previously.
Buffalo sometimes visit – like this one having had a complete mud bath.
Then for something different there was this Grey Heron hitching a ride.
Yellow-billed Storks seen opposite Sunset Dam in the Sabie River late one evening.
In all we identified 103 different bird species in the short time we were there. To see the list click on the link below. The spreadsheet will also show you what we identified in each area we camped. In total for the whole trip we identified 254 different bird species.
We hope you have enjoyed our tales from our Kruger trip.
Sally and Paul Bartho