South Africa Day 12

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I set off in the dark just after 0430. The plan is to go to a waterhole, then up to the Timbavati picnic site, then to an area where there are always ostriches, and then back down the main road.

It's still dark when I get to the waterhole. I wait for a few minutes for it to get light. There are lots of hippos and a grey heron.

On the way to the Timbavati picnic site, I see 2 giraffe, 3 zebras, an elephant and another elephant. I then see four ground hornbill. There's a speical sightings book for ground hornbill back at Satara rest camp. I can see there is a youngster but two of them are too far away for me to work out whether they are males/females. Later when I record it in the book, I also give my e-mail address and the GPS coodinates of the sighting as They ask for that.

After leaving the Timbavati picnic site, the next aim is to get to ostrich corner. However, when I get there, I see no ostriches. This is the probably the first trip where I've failed to see them there. However, I did see them last week south Of Lower Sabie.

On my way back to Satara, the road is full for some distance of dung, and around the corner I see why as the area just left of the road has hundreds of buffalo. It's an incredible sight.

Instead of going back to Satara I decide to take a side road where I've been successfully seeing game in the past. Today there are usual animals, and then I see a redcrested korhaan. I detect that it is a redcrested rather than a blackjbellied by the noise it makes. Again this is the first one I've seen this trip. Again I'm very pleased.

Just 2K futher on, a car flashes me as I'm approaching. I speed up to it. One of rhe occupants tells me that four lionesses have just crossed the road but I'll still be able to see them on the left. I confuse him by asking him where are you from?> He replies that he's from Glasgow, I say where I'm from.

The lionesses go and sit some distance from the road. And so they are difficult to photograph.

From there I drive south so as to approach the Gudzani dam from the opposite direction compared to yesterday. En route I see the usual animals: giraffe, waterbuck, zebra, wildebeeste and kudu. I also see steenbok twice and a group of 3 nyala.

At the Gudzani dam, I see a darter, a goliath heron and a woodland kingfisher. On the way back to Satara, I see some hippos, one waterbuck, some monkeys and lots of wildebeeste.

It's 1000. It's too early to go back. So I decide to drive north up the main road where they saw lion yesterday. I drive all the way to the ostrich area. I see no lions (and no ostriches). So I drive back again.

And, just as I'm eating a cookie, a blackbacked jackal runs acroos the road ahead of me. I consume the cookie, drive fast to where it is and get the came aout. But it's frightened of me and is making it's way away from the road as far as it can. I get some phtos that prove that I saw it, but they are hopeless photos. I guess this will be the highlight of today.

Last year, I saw a pair of blackbacked jackals, and I got reasonably good photos of them. Although I'm disappointed I didn't get good photos this time, I'm pleased that I've seen one.

For the afternoon game drive, I decide to do the same route as I did yesterday afternoon, and so I see very much the same things. The only excitement is to find an enomous crocodile out of the water.

When I get to Gudzani dam, I see a darter, a pied kingfisher and two terrapins.

On the back, I see two male and two female kudus, a glimpse of a rhino and 4 waterbuck.

I decide to go to a dam in the opposite direction, but there are just 3 hippos there.

In the restaurant, some people in the queue for the main course start querying what a particular vegatble is. Detecting a Scottish accent, I ask them where they are from. They are from Edinburgh. Later I see a person who was having difficulty in getting a table in the restaurant at Pretoriuskop. I speak to him. It turns out he is from Geneva.

There seem to be a lot more international visitors here this year. There are the usual few groups from the USA, but in addition I have heard German speaking people, and in the restaurant on the last three evenings there have been different large groups of French speaking people.

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