|White lion near Satara|
Following our stay at Pretoriuskop Camp in Kruger National Park (see here) we moved on the Lower Sabie Lodge for a 2-night stay. We left early in the morning, seeing a troop of Chacma Baboons as we headed east.
In the morning mist we spotted a Roan Antelope, a rare animal in the park. Then at a watering hole a fine Sable Antelope came in to drink.
We saw plenty of Wilderbeeste, Buchell's Zebra and Impala as we slowly drove along.
We were pleased to find two White Rhinoceros – a female with a large calf – in the scrub. Glenn and I inexplicably failed to see this species during our last visit to Kruger in 1996 (although we saw it at Mkuzi) when it was supposedly quite common in the park. In recent years the population has been severely diminished with the poaching of hundreds of rhino. So sightings are these days much more uncommon than in the relatively recent past.
Soon after we saw our first African elephants of the trip; we were to see many more in the days ahead.
found a party of Spotted Hyaena sunning themselves on the road.
We called in at the park headquarters in Skukuza before moving on to Lower Sabie in the south-eastern portion of the park. Stierling's Wren-Warbler was something of a bogey bird for me as I had missed it in the past. So we tried playback in several places and eventually one showed nicely at Mhlupheka waterhole.
A pair of Southern Ground-Hornbills strutted their stuff by the road.
We had game drives every morning and late afternoon at each of the lodges we stayed at. Lower Sabie had a nice mix of habitat with rivers, open woodland and thornbush scrub. We saw a large leopard resting under an acacia on the banks of the Sabie River.
Our first lions were brief views of a male and female, then a fine male early in the morning as it lay stretched out on the ground.
|Nile Crocodile & Impala|
|Lower Sabie waterhole|
Among the birds around the dam were Three-banded Plover and African Spoonbill.
then transferred to Satara Camp for a 2-night stay. Satara is one of
the finest lodges for game-viewing as there are extensive areas of
On the way to Satara we found another leopard,
this one partially concealed as in rested in the branches of a thick
game drives. We found three lionesses feeding on an Impala it had
Jackal was added to the ever growing list of mammals.
waterhole a few kilometres west of the lodge was popular. Lions were
here as well, with a large male marking its territory.
of various species such as Giraffe, Chacma Baboon and Impala, freely
mixed as they came in to drink. Conditions in the park during our
visit were harsh and hot, with no water away from the main rivers and
a few watering holes. This was in stark contrast to our visit 22
years ago, when all was green and lush following good seasonal rains.
However, because of the sparse vegetation, we saw more game during
a drive east of Satara we came across a pride of 17 lions, including
a fine white male (see top image). They nonchalantly strolled past the vehicle
without giving us a side glance. The pride was clearly on the hunt,
with the lionesses in the lead.
Nyala was among the mammals we saw during our game drives.
saw our first Common Ostrich in on the plains, while Flappet Lark and Croaking Cisticola were numerous.
evening at Satara Lodge we tracked down an African Scops-Owl. On the second evening we saw an African Wild Cat with a kitten, as well as a Lesser Galago.
|Plains between Lower Sabie & Satara|
|Sunset at Satara|
|Lions on Impala kill|
|Chacma Baboon & Impala|
|Giraffe & Impala|
|Sub-adult male Lion|
|African Wild Cat|