South Africa Day 13

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Today I'm moving to Lower Sabie. However, as seems to be usual this year, I'll first do a game drive around Satara, come back and pack and then drive to Lower Sabie. I choose to do the run to Gudzani dam.

It's 0435 when I leave, but, even at this tome of the morning, there are a lot of cars on this route (i.e., I can see three or four). As usual, it's dark when we start. I see little on the way, just some wildebeeste. Then I see a grey buck, but it disappears too quickly that I don't identify what klind of buck it is. About 1K further on, I see a redcrested korhaan. I stop to take this photos. By this way, I 've lost the other cars.

It's just one more K to Gudzani dam, and there is no-one there. Whilst arriving I also notice that there is a hyaena drifting through the area where cars park. It seems to be following two kudus who look a little agitated.

The hyaena move away slowly. Elsewhere in the area I see 4 openbilled stork (sitting on top of a tree), 4 hippos, a jacana and a pided kingfisher.

I decide to go further north returning by the route where I saw a lion yesterday morning.

Just 4K from the dam, the car in front behaves suspiciously. I look in the direction that the car's occupants are looking, and see a lion. After a fe minutes, about 5 cars turn up. I ask around, but no-one sees more than one lion. The person from Geneva is in one of the cars, but unfortunately he arrived too late as the lion has disappeared into the bush.

Just another 1K on, and I see a weird rabbit. I need to look it up in the book to try and identify what it was.

On the way back I see waterbuck, wildebeeste, giraffe, zebra and buffalo. I also see a blackbellied korhaan and another redcrested korhaan.

So I've seen both redcreated and blackbellied this morning. I've also seen a hyaena and a lion. And some sort of rabbit. And all that in 4 hours. That's good.

It's about 0900 when I leave Satara for Lower Sabie. It's about 92K with the services at Tshokwane at about half-way. I reach them at about 1030. En route, I 've seen the usual animals: buffalo, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe and a steenbok. I also see two hyaena, one with some meat in its mouth.

En route I also pass Mazithi dam where there are lots of maribou storks, and four ground hornbill.

Tshokwane has a sightings board, and there someone says they have seen a lion just about 2K from here. As I approach where the pin is on the map, someone gesticulates to me to go down the side road to Orpen Dam. About 1K down this road, there are three cars oarked. A person explains that there is a lion which is easy to see and two or three lionesses which are difficult to see (and one of the lionesses has a bad leg).

I see the lion but he is difficult to phtograph, and after a short while I leave.

Between the lion and Lower Sabie, I see two mongoose running across the road, 6 woollynecked storks, 4 kudus, 2 waterbucks, a group (or possibly two groups) containing 7 warthogs, and some baboons.

And so I arrive at Lower Sabie. At Recption, I'm served by the same person that served me a fortnight ago. I don't know if he recognises me. This time my safari tent does not have a view of the river. It's in land a bit. But it's nice.

I was two T-shirts and two pairs of shorts. I have lunch and I cook dinner for tonight and tomorrow. It's the usual vegatable and chicken stew.

I leave for a drive at 1609. I do my usual route out to the dam off the S28 and back by Duke's waterhole.

On the way to the dam, I see 4 female kudus, 5 warthogs (dad, mum and 3 babies) and lots of giraffes. At the dam, there is one elephant out of the water on this side of the water and on the far side one by one hippos are getting out of the water and wandering around. By the time I leave there are 17 out of the water.

On the way back via Duke's I first see a group of 3 zebra, and then see 4 more. I then catch a car up. The occuoant explains the there are two rhino in the bush. He moves on. I look; he's right; but they are hard to see. I then see one female nyala. Again she's buried in the bush, and I suspect there are more around, but not currently visible.

I catch the other car up. After a while, he gets annoyed/bored with me behind him, and so he pulls to a layby by a small waterhole, and lets me pass. Almost immediately, I see a bird in the bush. It's moving both forward and also deeper into the bush. I'm having difficulty both in photographing it and in identifying it.

I think it's a Secretary Bird, but I'm not sure. I will have to look it up. However, by this time the other car has caught me up and I point towards the bird, Having seen whilst following him that he's a birder, queryingly I say Secretary Bird, and he says it's a Kori Bustard.

I've seen a KB on a previous trip, but not in recent years and not this trip. The other car leaves with the occuoant saying to me: well spotted. I'm pleased too.

On the way back, I see two fish eagles and a warthog.

At Lower Sabie, the last thing you do before going back to the camp is to see what's ahppening at Sunset Dam. It's just about two minutes from the gate. Tonight, I see some baboons, a monitor lizard, 2 crocodiles, lots of hippos, a grey heron, a hammercop and two pied kingfisher.

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