A trip to Nkorho 2nd to 5th August 2009
We are now back home again and it's time to reflect back on what was another thoroughly
The first two nights were spent at our timeshare in Hazyview where we experienced extremely heavy rain on the second night, something very unusual in that area where it doesn't normally rain during winter. This picture was taken from the lounge of our chalet and shows the road outside looking like a river and the heavy rain falling on the dam just beyond.
We were very concerned as we were due to drive to Nkorho that morning, 2nd August, and, as much of the journey is on sand roads we weren't sure if we would get through. Once we set out, however, our fears went away and the roads were actually very good - it was possibly one of the easiest drives we have made into the Sabi Sands and the damp roads meant we didn't have the usual dust coming off the road.
Christy and her hubby had arrived at NK the previous day and we were both delighted to see them again
Marc was our ranger and we duly set off for our first game drive at around 4pm. One of our first sightings was of a group of dwarf mongoose which were popping in and out of holes in a termite mound.
We next saw some general game and then Marc said that my beloved Safari leopard was in the area and we should keep our eyes peeled for her. By now clouds were again building up but we didn't pay much attention to them. More important was - where was Safari? Suddenly, there she was, lying in the road and rolling in old buffalo dung! I'm still not too sure of the reason for her doing this (I was too taken aback at seeing her to pay attention to what Marc was saying) and she even ate some of it. I am posting a pic which Christy took as her picture is much better than mine (thanks Christy!)
While watching her, the lightning started and Marc then said we were going to have to make a dash for the lodge as it was obvious a bad storm was brewing. After a brief farewell to Safari we then tried to put ponchos on while Marc was trying to emulate a formula 1 racing driver. Christy and I were in the back row and at that point the whole journey became a big giggle! I was trying very hard to keep my camera and binoculars under my jacket and also to keep the poncho from flying in the wind. My rucksack was on the floor which very soon was awash with hail and water so it was also soaked in no time. By now it was raining very heavily and hail was also falling on our heads - and it hurt! I think it is time someone developed windscreen wipers for spectacles as we couldn't see a thing. I was very aware of water running down the folds of the poncho and unfortunately it was going into my one and only pair of trainers. The rain and hail were also pooling on the seat where we were sitting and it became a very uncomfortable and wet drive. Poor Frank was on the tracker seat and Marc had to stop to let him jump into the passenger seat - just as wet but at least he was in less danger of falling off the vehicle! We eventually made it back to the lodge.
When comparing notes next day we discovered we had both used hair dryers to try and dry our jackets (they were soaked, even under the poncho) and shoes. It was really fun and the crazy thing is that the cloud just seemed to hover over us and not over the rest of the Sabi Sands! Wesley had planned a bush braai for us that night but unortunately the weather scuppered his plans and we ate on the deck instead. The ladies came and danced and sang and a good night was had by all.
Next morning it was very cold after all the rain. We had some good general sightings such as this yellow billed hornbill
and a lovely Lilac Breasted Roller
Here is a view of EP from the other side of the water hole
After breakfast we went on a bush walk and, as I had been asked to let people know what the bush is like when animals leave the waterhole at NK and walk past the marula tree (Mike) and down into the drainage line, Marc walked us there in a roundabout way so we could approach the cam from that point. This picture shows the slight dip with lots of spoor on the sandy piece of ground. In the background you can see the marula tree.
The next picture shows the marula with the cam tree just behind and to the left of it. To the right of the marula is the mound which we look at and where the new microphones are situated.
The next picture brings us up behind the marula tree with the waterhole behind and to the right of the tree. The mound is on the right.
The next picture shows the new microphone which is situated on the lodge side of the mound.
And this one shows the left hand microphone
Here is Marc posing with a handful of dried elephant dung!
Jacques was also walking with us and, after looking at Old Faithful, he decided we should have a dung spitting competition. We thought this was being captured on cam but for some reason it wasn't working so all our spitting was in vain! Honestly, we all did it (it was impala dung) and I think Marc won but as he and Jacques sort of jumped forward as they spat, I'm not sure it should count! That's what Christy and I thought, anyway.
I don't know why none of us took photos of the dung spitting - I suppose we just thought it would be on the cam so no one thought of it.
Our afternoon drive was a fairly quiet one but here is a picture showing how much water there still was at Kudu Corner. As it is normally dry when we are there in August, this was a very pleasant surprise.
We saw ground hornbills which flew into a tree, a nice crash of 6 rhinos and then ..... this was my birthday, after all, .....just after sundowners guess who put in an appearance? Yes, Safari! I don't have a picture as she didn't stay for long as she was hunting but at least she came to say happy birthday . She was looking a bit thin so I hope she was successful in her hunt.
That night we had a super meal in the boma and at the end of the meal, when I thought I couldn't eat another thing, in came some of the ladies singing Happy Birthday and Wesley who was carrying a beautiful chocolate cake. He then proceeded to light a sparkler on top of the cake! The cake was absolutely delicious and I managed to eat a good sized piece and was very surprised not to feel like I had over eaten! Thank you to Wesley and the ladies :) Here is Wesley lighting a sparkler on top of the cake, flanked by two of the ladies.
Next morning we had some super sightings - I loved this little elephant.
We than found Salayexe laying on a branch of a tree with a dead impala close by. Blood was still dripping from its mouth but as she has two young cubs to feed, you couldn't really feel sorry for the impala - well it was dead and at least we didn't see her catch it! I am not posting any pics as I know Christy has lots!
We had another nice elephant sighting on our way back to the lodge...
When we got back to Nkorho, it was to see this lovely bushbuck wandering around between number 1 and 2 chalets
Unfortunately Christy and her hubby left that day so we had to say goodbye .....
I was in the bar with Valdi a bit later when 6 elephants came and paid a visit. I think a video of these elephants was posted on the forum. You can see part of the helicopter that Dirk, the lodge's owner, flew in on
Next morning we set off from the lodge at 6am and almost the first animal we saw was a beautiful big male leopard. He was close to the lodge, in the direction of Kudu Corner. Bushie later said she thought it might have been Manyeleti but Greg said it wasn't so we still don't know who he was. Suffice it to say he was big and beautiful. I did take some pics but as it was very early and the light was poor, don't feel they are good enough to post. We then set off to find Salayexe - her territory is a long way from NK. We were slightly disappointed because her cubs had been with her at the impala kill until not long before we arrived but they were scared off by hyenas which were hanging around under the tree in the hopes of getting a few scraps of meat that might fall down.
Even though we didn't get to see the cubs, Salayexe put on a great display for us! She started off by doing what leopards do well - dozing!
She then got up and decided she was a bit peckish ... even though her stomach was full to overflowing!
Look at her whiskers on the next pic!
On the next pic she was pulling out the impalas hair and spitting it out before eating the flesh
She is a lovely leopard and, as we first saw her when she was about a year old and still with her mother, it is great to see how she has developed and that she is such a good mother to her own cubs.
We left her and headed back to the lodge for breakfast where Milo sat patiently under the table waiting for any scraps that might accidentally (?!) fall off any plates.
and then it was our turn to say our farewells to everyone at NK. Until the next time .........