After a extended stay down at Collisheen with our family over the Easter period we returned to HWE in Hoedspruit, only to set off to Sabie a couple of days later to do some
doggie sitting, while the Bohm’s were away and then two days after our return to HWE, we’re off to Mopane in the KNP for four nights. game viewing in the Mopane area is of course mainly buffalo and elephant, we did manage to find a lion and the general game was good, but of course the main reason we are there is to join Derik & Janine Scorer and friends for 3 wonderful evenings at the
annual Sunset Serenade, every evening we met at the reception, just on a 100 people, climbed onto one of the buses and were whisked off to a different location, to sit under a starlit sky, the weather absolutely perfect, and listen to some beautiful music, while enjoying a glass of wine or amarula cream, then back to the camp to enjoy a delicious hot buffet dinner, and this for 3 nights in a row, marvellous experience. Will include some pics, not the best I’m afraid, taken with my cell. A must for your bucket list.
Thursday 17 May 2018, We have never seen Olifants looking so lush and green at the start of winter, the reason of course being all the late summer rains and in fact it rained again last night, so good to be out on a drive for the first time in more than a month and although we didn’t see that much, great to check out all the familiar spots. We headed down the airstrip road and of course onto warthog where we found a large herd of impala then across to nkhonkoni, like the new road around the dam, all quiet here but at the top of cheetah drive another large herd of impala and with them 6 zebra, more impala at hide dam, we take hide loop and then onto the 4 pylons for double dam, spotting the odd impala, double was quiet as was big but great to see both dams full to over flowing. We stop and enjoy our breakfast before taking the road to natural pan and then on down to sand, nothing about so along wildebeest drive for rhino, finding a large herd of impala and 4 zebra along the way to rhino, around the waterhole, more impala, the same for the sable area, we head along hyena way, cross at mikes link and back to the top of the airstrip. On our way out 2 large troops of baboon on the rwlr.
Friday 18, Weather this morning not sure what it wants to do, just 13 deg. but partly cloudy, then clears and finally overcast completely. Around our cutline with Venice we bump into Colbert, on his way into town, tells us there are a couple of elephant a short way back and then after the sable/members way crossing a pride of lion on the road, well we get the elephant but no sign of the lion, only masses of tracks on the road. seem to have crossed, the tracks a headed off up towards the e/e road. For the rest of the drive, pretty quiet, just impala about and one giraffe near rhino, as I mentioned the weather not great so head for home early.
Monday 21, A cool partly cloudy morning, mostly high cirrus which burns off as the morning progresses. I thought I was going to have to log this drive down as the impala morning with a couple of zebra and a pair of duiker thrown in for good measure but going down the klaserie cutline I bump into a fair size herd of elephant crossing from our side into klaserie, lots of little ones amongst them, all very relaxed and that really completes this morning drive, and Oh, not to forget a tortoise crossing the railway line road, which I moved to a safe area.
Tuesday 22, An absolutely stunning early winters morning, not a cloud to be seen and the temp at 5 am a cool 12 degs, perfect. After our car swap we head down to spaghetti junction, and find a mass of lion tracks, all sizes going every which way, so first we try down parallel clearing road as far as warthog, no luck, back up the airstrip road and then down hippo way and along pels, no sign, back track up red duiker and down mamba lane and onto warthog, plenty of impala but no lion, decide to continue our drive and after crossing the palm on our way to serengeti plains, on the S curve of the palm, a lioness is quietly lying on the sand in the shade a large bush, later we hear another lioness has joined her. We take neil’s link then along mala lane for hide, just impala
about and that applies to the road upto jackal plains, impala dotted all over the place, except for some impala here and there, we find nothing else between double and big.
While enjoying our breakfast we watch thousands of quelea coming into drink near the outlet pipe, always amazing how they don’t all collide into one another as they dip, twist and turn in their flight, taken some video and stills but not great. We continue upto natural pan and find our first herd of elephant coming into drink, at sand, another elephant enjoying the fresh water from the pipe and more appear from the direction of the 4 pylons, someone calls in”a massive herd” at nkhonkoni. We take wildebeest drive for rhino and both at rhino and sable, small herds of impala, along hyena way, more impala and then after crossing under the bridge, and as we cross the palm another herd of elephant is crossing heading south, certainly plenty of ellies around this morning.
Wednesday 23, A partly cloudy morning with a chilly breeze blowing from the south, after the usual car swap I head down to warthog pan, masses of impala about both on parallel clearing, airstrip and warthog, continue onto the palm, I’m in very early this am and on the S corner my spot picks up 3 sets of eyes, and 3 lioness’s, now the mature lioness is one of the two lioness’s we used to see on a regular basis along the E/E road so
they were known as the double E ladies, one had cubs a few years back and 2 of that litter are with her now, the others killed by the train, well it looks very much like she is about to produce or has already some more cubs. Certainly by the interest shown by the
2 S/A, if you can call them that, about whats happening behind the bushes out of sight, lets hope so. The photo’s I’ve included are not great, a combination of very low light and having to use telephoto settings. While watching the 3 lioness I hear impala blowing off in the direction of warthog pan, bump into unit 47, Maurice, Elsabie and Henrietta, who are at the parking, it seems a lone impala ram is very unhappy about something close to the water and although we spend sometime there, nothing shows, eventually the ram moves off and we continue our separate ways, I cross over at vestak and find on buff plains 1, just masses of impala, mostly up at the southern end, at nkhonkoni all is quiet so I head down to hide, just a small herd of impala on the way up to jackal plains, except for a hippo in double all is quiet so I continue along first ingwe and the at the link cross over onto bateleur, finding only impala along the way, nothing about at big so set off on ‘”drive about” along Badger BLVD, up the cut line onto tambothi link, past 2 trees, onto the cutline and then down big dam link back to the dam, where I bump into unit 47, Maurice tells me I’ve just missed a impressive bull elephant has drunk and headed off in the direction of natural pan, along the road, I find him with a herd, which is moving up parallel to the road and don’t seem that friendly, manage a brief shot but it’s not Izulweni, then head north up the 4 pylons, plenty of impala dotted about and down the dinidza cutline where I find a large herd of impala, tucked away in the woodlands, pop into the office then back along the EE , car swop, home.
Thursday 24, Another beautiful May morning, around 12 deg, just comfortable and to start a light mist hangs over the bush which soon clears away when the sun rises. Leaving the top of the airstrip we soon pick up plenty of impala eyes with our spot, all over the parallel clearing, down the airstrip and on warthog, a couple of zebra are with them, we of course check down the palm for any sign of the 3 lioness’s and hope the cubs may have arrived, no luck on both counts, we back track around warthog once more, spot 3 young jackals, playing mad dog, chasing each other all about, as we are about to cross at vetsak, Maurice (47) calls in lion on parallel clearing, by the time we come up behind him on the airstrip road they have moved into the thick bush that surrounds the refuse bins area, we decide to continue up to the parking area and then back down the e/e and in at the refuse area, no sign, but when we come back onto the e/e here they are walking down the road towards us, after messing about on the road for awhile they move off in the direction of the pels area. We take the road towards ian’s pan, cross the palm at mikes link and then along hyena way for sable, find masses of impala along the palm and on sable plains, cross at the rubbing post and check out around sable, all quiet,
back past Q’s corner and across onto mashatu drive, again nothing about but plenty of impala close to rhino pan and up onto the 4 pylons we find more, along the 4 pylons, left on the link road and down wildebeest drive for sand, just the odd impala here, so along kudu loop for hide, more impala here especially on hide loop, we take the road for nkhonkoni and again nothing at the dam, but on buff plains one, masses of impala and 6 zebra are amongst them. Up to Geoff’s look out for our breakfast, then down through neil’s link and up the palm for one last look to see if the lioness’s are out and about, no sign, back to garage, home.
Friday 25, A beautiful clear and nippy morning on Olifants this morning but drive wise pretty quiet. A brief glimpse of a lioness, caught in the cars head lights, as she crosses the road ahead of me and disappears, before I reach the garages and then the usual impala herds about in all the usual spots with not a great deal of other game to add to the sightings, a herd of elephant on hyena way, moving away from the road, 3 zebra at the top of the airstrip, 4 more with a couple of kudu and a large herd of impala along wildebeest drive, a herd of 4 kudu, all lying under a bush on parallel clearing, and thats about the lot.
Sunday 27, A cool overcast morning to end the week. You all take care now.
Roars & Trumpets, N&M 🐘🐘🐘