The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 7, Satara Rest Camp tp Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp

Tuesday, April 7, Day 64 - Satara Rest Camp to Berg -en- Dal Rest Camp, Kruger National Park

We are up by 5:45AM. Dick fixes hot tea for our mugs and we eat a muffin and load the car. We want to take advantage of the early morning as that is usually the best time with the animals out and feeding. We think we will do the S100 loop west of Satara. It was a really good drive last time, but we want to check out the lion kill first as we will miss it if we do the loop first. Just outside of the camp, we see a waterbuck and some kudu. Even at this time of the morning there is a jam on the bridge, but we are able to get a good viewing spot and watch for a while. The male lion is feeding and we get a good view. The traffic jam is getting worse and we don't want to get stuck so decide not to try to turn around and go back to S100.

There is no way we can get turned around with the jam on the bridge so we continue south on H1-3 to the area where we flew past the giraffe last night. First there are two heads munching on the tree tops and then right up almost under its mom is a baby! And over in the brush is another baby! No one has seen these yet so we pull off and watch for a while, The little one is so cute! Mom kisses him on the head and he nozzles up to her side and has a snack then wanders off all of three or four feet. We begin to attract a crowd so we move on. Farther down we see some more giraffe and a wildebeest.

We turn on to S126, this is another loop that we had luck with last time. The nice thing about these gravel loops is that very few people get off the main tarred roads so you have what you find to yourself. Right off we come up on a troop of baboons being baboons. They are everywhere! Not too much farther is a herd of wildebeest and zebra, one of Carolyn’s favorites, but Dick can’t see why! We stop anyway! Down the road away we find giraffe and impala.

The nice thing about Kruger is people help each other find good sightings. We come up on a car stopped, but can’t see what they are watching until they point to a mound on the side of the road and we see it...a mound of dirt with the cutest little guys peeping out of the holes and standing up looking around....a very neat find.  Wonder what they are?
We turn South on S36 to the day use area, Muzandzeni, and stop for a break and a snack of cheese, crackers and juice. There isn’t any one there when we pull in, but three safari truck come wheeling in not long after we arrive. Since it is so easy to drive yourself in Kruger, we can’t imagine why you would want to sit in an open truck all morning/day with 6-8 of your new closest friends!
It is on this leg we have probably the neatest sighting. We see two Tawny Eagles in the top of a tree and pull over to try for a picture. As we watch, one of the eagles leaves the tree, swoops down, picks a large twigg off the ground and returns to the nest. We watch as they arrange the twigg and then repeat the process! Really interesting to watch them work. There is also a convention of buzzards.

As we approach the turn for S125 we stop for a real menagerie of animals: warthogs, elephants and waterbuck at a watering hole. A car passes us and says there is a lion on up at the turn down in a ravine. We find several cars stopped, but can never see the lion. It is really over grown and it must be in the bushes so we drive on to S125.

Here we run into a cute family of wart hogs, an elephant family, some more impala, a giraffe and then a small group of very agitated cape buffalo. We wonder if they lost a member last night as we aren’t really to far from the kill.

We turn South on H1-3. On H1-3 around Mazithi watering hole there is a convention this morning. Last night no one was home. As we approach the head of the water hole, we see the small Cape buffalo group come out of the brush and cross the road at a high rate of speed. There is a huge herd of Cape Buffalo at the top of the water hole and they soon mingle with the group. "Did you hear what happened to Bill last night?", seems to be the story. There are also hippos, turtles, crocodiles and a few waterbuck hanging around.

We are heading for Orpen Dam, a good spot.  Last time there wasn’t anything, but today is a very different story. This is a place that you can get out and go to a small covered area overlooking the lake. There are several people here today with quite a show in the lake below. There is a raft of hippos splashing around and griping at each other at one end and an elephant family at the other. Daddy is munching away in the tree on the edge of the lake and Mama is watching over two babies who are having a ball playing in the water. We sit down and enjoy the show. The babies are rolling around, going under water and just having a good time in general. The little male trumpets a couple of times, but apparently this makes Mama mad and they get out of the water. The little female scampers off behind a tree but Mama corners the male and nearly backs him back into the lake before she finishes telling him what for! Really a neat interlude!

We head on down H10 to Nkumbe overlook. This is a place we really liked last has the "land before time" look. You are up on a rocky outcrop looking down onto the savannah. Last time there were rhino, elephants and ostrich, but today there is no one, just some vervet monkeys up near the overlook.

There is evidence of a big, recent fire. In fact we get into a bad burn area and decide to turn on to S28 and cut down to S30 and back to the Sabbi River. We are on the edge of the western edge of the burn all the way down S28, The only thing we see are a covey of guinea hens...just proves what a dumb animal they are!!! Once we turn on East on S30 we begin to see animals again, mostly impala. There are even a few spots of burn over in this area. A car with two Indian families stops us and asks if we have seen anything. They say that there was a leopard siting earlier in the day where we just saw a large group of impala gathered around a mud hole. Sorry the leopard is long gone!

We get back to the Sabbi River and cross the bridge to H4-1. There is a bit of a traffic jam on the bridge due to a male baboon putting on a x-rated show that is really a car stopper! On H4-1 we again see impala and waterbuck. There is a big group of elephant in the river bed so we turn into one of the overlook parking areas and come face to face with a Mama elephant munching a tree on one side of the car and her baby playing in the sand on the other. This was all hidden by the brush before we turned! Really wanting to return the rent car in one piece, Dick slowly backs back out on the road. No since in causing a ruckus!

There are many elephants on the side of the road and crossing the road to get to the river. We stop for some pictures and Carolyn finds a nyala hiding in a group of brushy trees. We also saw more vervet monkeys playing in the road.

By now it is early afternoon. We are ready to head to the rest camp, Berg-en-Dal, for the night. The GPS tells us we can be there around 4PM so we are off down H1-1 to S114, This is the GPS choice. S114 proves to be really rough and we only see some giraffe. The tarred H3 seems like a better choice; at least it will be smoother so we cross over to it. On the way to the rest area we see still more impala, wildebeest, zebra, rhino and more baboons. At the turn off for Berg-en-Dal we see some cape buffalo to finish off the game driving.

Berg-en-Dal is a much nicer, read more developed, camp than Satara or the one at Sabbie Sands. There is a program to improve the park’s facilities and this one is very easy to reach as it is just north of the main highway from Johannesburg and gets lots of use. We have a cottage with A/C, an inside kitchen and eating bar with three bar stools plus three twin beds. There is also a large out door living area with a large fire pit, table and chairs and brick wall with built in seating. We again have a perimeter cottage. We check in, stop at the little camp store and get some more wine and bread. By 5PM we are working on dinner as we are hungry since we have just snacked all day. Carolyn mixes up some garlic olive oil to dip the bread in and we snack on that while drinking the rest of the wine and putting together another batch of spaghetti. After we eat, Dick goes back to the store for cheese for tomorrow’s lunch. Just as he gets to the store, the power goes out, but that doesn’t faze anyone. Out come the flashlights and business as usual. They say the generators will come on soon. Back at the cottage we sit outside for a few minutes, but that doesn’t last long after the lights come back on. It is dark, the cottage is cool and we have had a wonderful full day. We are asleep by 8PM! 

No comments:

Post a Comment