See our new blog for May and June 2011

Day 62 (Satara 19 of 30) June 11 Soccer World Cup Opening

Woke early and sat at the gate waiting for opening at 06h00 donned in our Bafana shirts and flying the flag.
On a premonition that there were Lion at Girivana, we headed straight there, low and behold 8 lion at the waterhole.
They gave us 5 minutes of their time before moving off. The light was still to dark for any decent photographs.
We continued along the 5 km loop trying to follow the lions, after about a Km we found a Jackal lying in the middle of the road, alive but unable to move. On closer inspection we saw bite marks on its spine with its back obviously broken, all around were Lion spoor. The pride we had seen minutes ago had obviously caught this Jackal. We watched this for a while trying to figure out what drama had happened here during the night. We left, allowing nature to take its course, not prepared to watch this little animal die.
We have now seen the "Big 5" at this waterhole at different times.

Returned to camp, a bit sad, and got ready to watch the opening ceremony of the world cup on TV. The spirit in camp was electric the game was exciting and when Bafana scored, the vuvazelas started blowing, amazing. Quintin, on I predicted the result 1-1, which must have given our team a boost, does this mean I keep my place in the team?

Day 61 (Satara 18 of 30) June 10

We took the tar road to Nwanedzi, found a clan of Hyaena using a culvert in the road as their lair. We spent an interesting hour or so watching the interaction between them.
Continued onto the Sweni bird hide (S37) and from there to Tsokwane for breakfast, via Lindanda memorial site (this is the spot where ranger Harry Wolhuter was attacked by a lion, he survived the attack by stabbing the lion with his sheath knife and climbing a tree, severely injured, until help arrived, circa. 1906).
We returned to Satara with little reward for spending the whole day out.

Day 60 (Satara 17 of 30) June 9

Stayed in camp this morning, maintenance and cleaning day.
Lettie searched the Sanparks web site on line bookings and found another 5 nights at Satara. I rushed off to reception to confirm and secure the booking. We now leave Satara on the 23rd and arrive at Maroela for 12 days instead of 17.

We took our late afternoon drive to Girivana, which has become our afternoon routine.
The resident croc was feeding on the carcass, which had been in the water ever since we got here.

Day 58 & 59 Satara (15&16 of 25) June 7&8

Day 59

We decided to take the S90, as this road had been hot for the last couple of days according to the sightings board. Instead of turning south onto the S41 we decided to take the loop towards Bangu and back onto the tar towards Ngotso dam. Other than general game, the only carnivore we saw was a Jackal.
With the school holidays approaching, the profile of the campers is changing, younger people with school going children is replacing pensioners and older folk.
In addition, a lot of World Cup tourists arriving and the vibe is great.

Day 58

At 2am this morning, Lions roared close to camp. We heard them pass the camp towards the water hole, which is situated in front of the Frankel Guest Cottage. This water hole is lit up and has a live webcam which can be viewed on the internet at
Left camp early, headed straight towards Girivane to see if the Leopard was still at the water hole. About 1 Km from the waterhole we saw a Cheetah…but just a glimpse, as it was hunting and dashed into the thick bush. At least we saw a Cheetah! And added it to our master list
Got to Girivane, had our coffee and rusks and waited, however, no Leopard. There was only a troop of Baboons in the big tree, starting to climb down to go and forage for food for the day.
We took a slow drive to Muzandzeni picnic spot to meet up with Corrie and Nonnie for breakfast.
Had the weekly “calamity” eggs, bacon, onion, sausage and toast.
After breakfast, we took a slow drive down the S36 to see if we could find Sable Antelope. At the water hole, Ngwenyeni, we found a herd of Elephant swimming. They carried on like children in a swimming pool, they could not get enough, rolling and hitting the water with their trunks! The local resident Hippo was a bit stressed as its peaceful dam was being churned around like water in a washing machine.
We carried on to Mhisanamond water hole hoping to see the Sable there. Parked under the only tree with shade, had a nice sleep. No Sable to been seen.
We went back towards Muzandzeni, onto the Sweni road- S126. Passed the Ngwenyeni dam again and saw that the Hippo was sunning itself out of the water on the warm sand.
The Sweni was very quiet, hardly any animals on this road. We did not go out for a drive in the afternoon, decided to stay and read some of our magazines we bought in Nelspruit.

DAY 57 (Satara 14 of 25) June 6

2 days ago Corrie and Nonnie saw a Cheetah late in the afternoon at Girivana waterhole. They sat there for nearly the whole afternoon. When the second last car left to get back to camp before the gates close at 17:30pm Corrie decided to wait a little longer. As they were about to leave the Cheetah got up from where it slept (nobody saw it sleeping in the long grass) it strolled towards the drinking trough. They took some photos while it drank, its tummy was very big from eating a buck. They just made the gate in time before it closed.
We decided that we were going early to Girivana this morning with the hope to see the Cheetah as we need to add a new name to our master mammal list. Had our coffee and rusks while watching the Impala and Elephants drink. At 9am had our breakfast in the car which consisted of cereals and Yogurt. Sadly no Cheetah in sight!
Got back to camp midday, got the laundry done, rested for a while. We decided to go out to Girivana again late afternoon. Sat there watching the crocodile lazing on side of the dam…Andrew fell asleep, snoring away while I watched the animals grazing near the dam. Elephants came to drink and as it was getting dark, a White Rhino also came to drink. As we got ready to leave a car passed us, when they suddenly made a quick u-turn facing the other side of the dam, they noticed the Leopard as it started to roll and stretch, that is when we discovered it was sleeping in the long grass 5 meters away from our car, everybody drove pass and did not notice it sleeping on the other side of the dam, they all looked left towards the dam watching the other animals drinking not thinking to look to the right into the long grass.

Andrew and the Leopard were snoring away just meters away from each other!
Got back to camp, discovered that there were 6 little tents next to us. A group of tourist arrived…they are from the UK and Australia. Nice youngsters. One of the girls was worried when she saw the Hyena patrolling the fence. Kept asking if they can get into camp.

This little Scops Owl sat above our rally tent on a branch looking for insects. All the young people next door came and took a photo of the owl.

DAY 56 (13 OF 25) 5 JUNE

Left early, took the Timbavati road. Went past the Ratelpan water hole. The grass is so high one cannot see the trough. Saw a few Impala on the way and a couple of Elephants.
Got to Timbavati picnic spot for breakfast. Very busy this morning as the “weekenders” are in the park. While having our breakfast we saw 2 Lionesses lying under a tree about 500 metres away.
Somebody told us the big males were down the road. We decided to go and look for the males after breakfast, but only found Vultures in a tree at the spot where the Lions are supposed to be. Turned around went the other way towards Girivana water hole.
On the way saw this one-horned Giraffe.
He looked at us as if to what is your problem?

Near the Girivana water hole we saw this old big Buffalo…he was full of mud and looked very grumpy!

Sat at Girivana for nearly the whole afternoon, only a few Impala grazing near the dam.

Corrie and Nonnie joined us for a braai. Kim we took this photo to show you how Corrie and Nonnie looks like…(sure you have forgotten what they looked like)

While braaing a young man came by our caravan, said “hello”…Andrew did not recognize him, thought it was Pat’s(WarthogB) son in-law. I came out of the caravan and saw it was Trevor, Rolene, my niece’s husband. He is here for a few days with some friends. Sorry you were not here as well Ouvrou!
Decided we are going to go out early tomorrow and just sit at Girivane to see if we can see the Cheetah that have been there for a few days. Everybody have seen him/her but we still need to see him/her!