4th Day - 19 August, 2010

RogerH's picture
4th Day - 19 August, 2010

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4th Day – 19 August, 2010

 

On our last morning at Crocodile Bridge we were greeted by an absolutely gorgeous sunrise.  (actually, pre-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 elephants.

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 Kingfisher.

An interesting panorama of Giraffes.  How many are there?

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.

This beautiful female Kudu

paid little attention to us as she leisurely crossed the road and wandered off into the bush.

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 his trunk.  

Suddenly, his 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 comfortable

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!

THE DAY’S SIGHTINGS: ANIMALS

              Elephants                                        Zebras

              Kudu                                                Buffalo

              Hippos                                             Giraffes

              Impala                                             Baboons

              Wildebeest                                     Crocodile

              Steenbok                                         Waterbuck

              Honey Badger                               

 

THE DAY’S SIGHTINGS: BIRDS

              Gray Go-away Bird                       Egyptian Geese

              Goliath Heron                                Pied Kingfisher

              Southern Ground Hornbill          Lilac Breasted Roller

              Hamerkop                                      Saddlebilled Stork

              Gray Heron 

     

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sabine's picture

where are you storing all

Wink where are you storing all those horseshoes to get all those amazing sightings?

Can't wait for the next installment!

BicBic's picture

I agree with everyone else;

I agree with everyone else; Great pictures, great sightings and great writing.  The Ellies were very impressive. The turn around was a wise decision.  # of giraffes?  6 ?

Look forward to day 5.

Janine's picture

Oh yes to solve your coffee

Oh yes to solve your coffee issue buy a bodem (coffee plunger) and wrap it in your clothing they travel well then buy some good ground coffee at the store and you are away no more instant coffee Eye-wink

Fani's picture

Every day looks more

Every day looks more interesting than the previous .!!!!!.or you were lucky or the miracles outside there were plenty ...Even if it wasn't my dream to live it by myself, I would like to visit this wonderful place ...I think your photo story of your adventures is the best advertising ...Smile

Thank you so much for sharing it with us ...

donnabac's picture

Loved them all... especially

Loved them all... especially the Waterbuck. I also enjoy seeing the places you stayed; makes it even more real for me. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Donna

Gerda's picture

Mating elephants and a

Mating elephants Surprised and a honey badger !!!

Can't wait for day 5 !

 

 

Janine's picture

I am loving reading this

I am loving reading this can't wait for the next installment Shocked)

Mavis's picture

Wonderful reading and great

Wonderful reading and great pics again Roger.

I'm not jealous.  Nope, I'm not.

Ingwe's picture

 Blow me down!  This is

 Blow me down!  This is your best day and I had sooo much fun reading it! 

I'm not speaking to you though - in lord knows how many years I still don't have a decent pic of a honey badger - and there you go and have him come to you

Got to love those "ellie detours"

At one stage Sunset Dam just outside Lower Sabie was completely taken over by water lettuce, or, I think we used to call it water hyacinth.  I was so glad to see it completely clear again!  I think they used weevils to help to get rid of it, but would have to check my facts on that.

Mating ellies

Restrooms -  I have only sympathy for Jen.  Guys have it easy.

 

Your day 4 just made my Thursday.  Keep them coming.

 

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