This morning we are into Olifants to start the month, nice cool partly overcast day. Our first sighting herd of elephant then followed at pole number 20/19, a dehorned rhino bull, comes onto the road for a few moments and then turns back and wanders off. We go right at our cutline with Venice then right down the single pylons road, finding a small herd of impala, we continue all the way to molope dr and then head for Q’s corner, check out sable and move onto Rhino, we spot just one wildebeest bull. We continue along the klaserie link and onto the cutline, more impala and a herd of elephant, we take fungi drive and near the panels for big dam, another rhino bull, who seems to be heading for the dam, so we go ahead to await his arrival but after an hour , no show. We continue along bateleur dr. for double dam, finding a steenbok and a small herd of impala. We back track along Ingwe drive, impala and a couple of giraffe, we go right up Bush willow drive and right again down Bongani’s Beat, finding a fair amount of impala and another giraffe, crossing the 4 pylons we find a herd of elephant, we go right and then round hide loop, a small herd of impala at the dam and we spot a lone hippo. We take kudu loop for
sand dam and bump into another herd of elephant. Nothing about at sand so we move onto nkhonkoni dam, all quiet here but plenty of impala on buff plains one, across to warthog and find plenty more impala, we head up Mamba Rd down red duiker and right along Hillside link and stop off at Cesare Point for our breakfast, from here we spot of elephant off towards the river, more in the direction of Bev’s Bench. We head for the office, just more impala along elephant walk. The new sightings board, very impressive, added our rhino and elephant sightings. Time to make for home, along the E/E, railway line, home Birds, nice pair of Wahlbergs on Fungwe Dr. and a Barbet at double.
We are into the Park for a couple of nights, meeting good friends Peter and Pam Wise
from Umhlali KZN. As usual in through Orpen, gate times have moved up to 5,30 so to get there in time, an earlier rise, 3,30 or so. Between the entry gate and the book- in office, about 5 k’s or so, a pack of 6 hyena and little further on a lone elephant bull. Once clear of Orpen we head along the H7, and as usual, we spot plenty of impala with them both wildebeest and zebra and the odd giraffe. We go right down the S36 and at the Rockvale
water hole, we are just in time to see the back of a cheetah, after a herd of impala, they all disappear in a cloud of dust but after some patient and careful searching we finally find him with his kill, partly under a bush. We stop off at Muzandzeni for our breakfast before continuing along the S36 and at the Shimangwaneni Dam, we find a large herd of buffalo plus waterbuck, kudu, warthog and giraffe, at the moment all waterholes/dames are under pressure until the first rains. We press on and go left down the S125, N’waswitsontso road and follow the river, dry at this time off the year all the way to the
H1-3 and the Kumana dam. Here we find a herd of elephant, waterbuck and a lone saddle billed stork. Time to start making our way north so back up H1-3 and as we are a little early for book- in 2pm, we head a long to the Nsemani dam, plenty of general game about as well as elephant
We are picked up by Peter and Pam for the afternoon drive and we decide to take the S100, we find plenty of general game, elephant both in herds and lone bulls, add waterbuck, ostrich, bush buck and at the Gudzani Dam, more elephant, hippo and a couple of large crocs, but the spot of the drive was a civet, moving along the N’wanetsi river.
WE are number 3 at the gate, and we head north along the H1-4, this is very open plains country so where ever you look there’s impala but even more wildebeest and zebra and here and there giraffe and a number of ostrich. Added to the mass of general game, a couple of honey badgers, a short distance from the road, digging for something, a pair of tawny eagles on a kill, and when we take the Ngotso Weir Road, a lone lion, and further along mostly impala, kudu and giraffe. We head down to the Olifants and cross it at the Balule camp. The Olifants here is as at least 3 times as wide as it is on ORGR and lush green, with the result there’s just masses of general game feeding all over, wonderful sight and even better when we join the H1-4 and stop on the bridge, up and down stream , huge herds of impala, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, waterbuck, some giraffe and hogs, and of course elephant, bird life too excellent. We now head south and take the S29, Timbavati road, making for the picnic sight for our brunch, before we get there though plenty of
game at the various waterholes along the way, we enjoy a delicious cooked brunch before heading for Satara along the S40 calling in along the way at Girivana and we are in luck, the lioness and her 3 cubs have killed a large kudu bull, unfortunately it’s partly hidden under a bush so not great viewing, we’ll be back in the afternoon.
We pick up Peter and Pam at 3,15 for our afternoon drive and of course we head straight
for Girivana and the lions but as we approach the turn off we see masses of cars Nsemani dam, so we check there first and besides plenty of game and elephant all over the main interest is a pride of lions below the dam wall, still pretty hot so all are flat out.
We decide to check out the lions at Girivana and return later, what a good move as the lioness and her 3 cubs are all lying out in the open, we enjoy some great viewing before they move and we head back to the dam. We find a spot amongst the crowed, most of the lion still lying about and we make a rough count of 15, one large lion and the rest lioness’s and cubs, some of the lioness start to move, now below the wall there’s a road that follows the over flow stream, which at the moment has pools of water, pretty sure the lion will drink before moving of so we scoot down, park strategically, and in a short while they all filter through, we count 20, fortunately only a few cars click to what’s going on. Then the mad dash for the gate, super day.
Sad farewell, the Wises head south for crocodile bridge and then home, end of a most
enjoyable couple of days, we head north up the H1-4 as we plan to go out at Phalaborwa, we find plenty of plains game dotted about everywhere, a pack of 10 hyena and the odd elephant bull. We have planned to take the Ngotso loop, now the tarmac road runs along some riverine bush and at the moment there are pools of water here and there. We miss the beginning of this action, but we find 2 lioness’ who are both treed, with about 12 hyena, with their tails up very unhappy with lioness’s, enjoy the pic’s and video, the hyena suddenly dash off across the road and disappear and the 2 lioness come down and move off as well. we continue on along the loop, finding plenty of impala, kudu and giraffe, cross at Balule once more, lots of game about. We stop in at Letaba, for our breakfast then on to Phalaborwa, this part very quiet and very very dry, end of a great trip.
The weather makes our minds up for us this morning, cold, heavy overcast and a brisk breeze, so snug and warm in the Subaru, into the Park. Our first sighting, 7 hyena before we reach the office, plus an elephant. As usual take the H7 for the Satara area, a fair amount of general game about, and the odd elephant herd. We turn off for the Girivana
waterhole and find the mud wallow with a fair amount of water in it, the area has had mixed amounts of rainfall, so puddles here and there. All quiet but we decide to stop off
and enjoy T,C&R and hope for something to show. Morag suddenly spots the lioness slowly moving through the thick bush behind us, crosses the road and disappears, after awhile a herd of impala and with them a herd of zebra appear, coming in from the opposite direction to drink at the trough, after what seems an age, she makes her move
and there’s just an explosion of action, impala, zebra and dust as they bolt in every direction and in the middle of it all, the lioness, right a long side a zebra, just missing it, lucky zebra, all over in a matter of seconds. Sadly, my video so blurred it’s not worth posting, but have her starting the hunt and then returning her cubs, better than nothing I suppose. The lioness and her 3 cubs push off up stream and we move down to the Nsemani dam, find our posse and settle in to await what comes into drink, in fact there’s already plenty there, impala, waterbuck, a small herd of buffalo and a herd of elephant come into drink, more in come in from every direction, giraffe, kudu and of course plenty of impala. Suddenly from below the dam wall we hear monkey’s alarming, so we pop down for quick look, this is the same little dust road we saw the lion on, on monday, but no lions this time but a magnificent leopard, really impressive, having been found out he moves off and we return to our spot on the dam wall and watch the never ending parade. At around 1, we set off for home, general game along the way, couple of elephant herds in the timbavati river, another wonderful day in this remarkable park.
It’s a crystal clear morning as we set off for Olifants but by the time we get to the sliding gate, heavy cloud has moved in from the west, fortunately no wind but it turns quite cold, and we even thought we may get some rain, that would have been wonderful but no such luck because as the morning moves on the cloud burns off and we are left with clear blue sky. We cross our cutline and our first spot is a couple of kudu bulls, standing
on the road, we go left at 22/19 and along members way finding a herd of impala, more impala along the e/e. We stop off at the top the airstrip, listen out to hear what the bush can tell, all quiet so we decide to head down hippo way and then onto pels, close to Lawrie’s look out, impala, giraffe and a waterbuck bull, continuing along the river a troop of baboon, and a bush buck ram. We see nothing from the causeway so make our way to idube passing more impala and a small herd of nyala. All quiet at idube so up kudu drive, more impala, cross the e/e and down the short cut and at the T junction, lying in the open, a lone lion. We spend some time with him before taking neil’s link, still no sign of the two owls who used to live there, left along the rwlr and right up red
crested for hide dam, looking across the valley we see a herd of elephant feeding, we count 20 in all. We take saba’s road for hide, finding a small herd of impala and a immature fish eagle, so along to, first nkhonkoni, zip about so across to sand, where we find a herd of zebra, impala a couple of giraffe and a kudu bull. We take sand loop then right and then onto mpisi drive, all the way to the klaserie cutline, finding just a couple of impala herds and another giraffe, left and then left down fungi dr. for hide where we stop for our breakfast, we see only impala who come in from all directions to drink. Taking bateleur dr. for double we find more impala at the dam. Then unto the single pylons and south all the way to rhino pan, passing herds of impala, a couple of kudu bulls and another two giraffe and a family of hogs dash away. At rhino some impala, nothing along mashatu drive or at Q’a corner, passing sable dam, impala, a giraffe and a small herd of wildebeest and a special sighting a couple of ground hornbills and that completes the drive, getting hot so onto the railway line and home.
We pop into the Park to end the week, as usual plenty of game about, so I am going to just leave you with a collage of pictures we saw at Msemani dam and Rockvale waterhole.
That’s all for this edition, You all take care now. R&T, N&M.🐘🐘🐘