Kruger National Park 2013 ~ 1 October 2013
1 October 2013
The Bun Fight
I woke at 3am hearing something familiar. When the wheels started turning (they are slow to turn at this time of day), I smiled. It was a giant eagle owl, grunting happily, not too far away. After breakfast I went out to have a look and see if I could spot him. I love owls and I haven't seen a giant eagle owl in person for a couple of years now, so I was disappointed when he was nowhere to be seen. I soon cheered up when some banded mongooses came to have a look at me on the stoep. No camera means no picture - it's about time those wheels kicked in
We are heading to Lower Sabie this morning, via Crocodile Bridge, and the first thing eagle eye hubby spotted was my giant eagle owl He had decided that he had entertained me enough for one day with his grunting, and refused to turn around. The owl, not the hubby. I was thrilled nonetheless.
We decided to take a detour to the hippo pools and passed through a strech of ground badly beaten up by elephants. It's hard to tell from the pictures but they really did a number on this area. At the hippo pools there is a ranger who rides there on his bicycle. I am embarrassed now because I can't for the life of me remember his name! He had a French couple there and called for us to join him on the rocks. It's a great view of the river and surrounding area and he showed us the bushman paintings, an abandoned hyaena den, lots of birds, and of course, the hippos. The ranger was busy with a crossword and one of the clues was driving him crazy. I think it was "precious walking stick", we all tried but none of us could help!
He told us there were lions on a kill on a dirt road near Lower Sabie. We hadn't planned to go that way, but it was only a few k's out of our way so we decided to go and have a look A quick pitstop at the camp at Croc Bridge, and off we went. It was a fair way up the road and there was a bit of a bun fight. A large traffic jam. For the most part it was a well behaved sighting and also the most frustrating one we had the whole time we were in the park. Cars were parked on both sides of the road and the middle was blocked too. There was nothing we could do but wait it out. Gill offered to let one guy go ahead of her and he laughed and said "Ag, it's okay" and popped open a beer. We didn't wait too long before we could see the kill, a buffalo close to the road, and 2 lionesses a little bit further back. It was hard to take pictures but we had a decent view before carrying on to Lower Sabie, where we stopped for lunch.
Tonight we will sleep in Skukuza. The the drive there from Lower Sabie follows the river, and, as always was very pleasant. There were umpteen hippos and elephants along the way, lions hiding on the rocks, and a large herd of buffalo at Sunset Dam. We are on a mission to go to what I think is a small piece of heaven, Lake Panic. It's a bird hide overlooking a lake. It's amazing. All the herons are thriving here and there are many nests. A juvenile fish eagle arrived, and, egged on by his parents, annoyed the rest of the inhabitants. Our time manager (the hubby), kept telling us, 10 more minutes, until we really had to skedaddle to get back to camp before the gates closed.
A couple more pictures that I couldn't leave out.
A shy little nyala youngster, we hardly ever see them here, so it was a big treat.
And this beauty who couldn't have behaved better.
The day? Made.