See our new blog for May and June 2011

Day 76 (Maroela 3 of 12) June 25

Set the alarm to get out of camp early, we want to try and see the Wild dogs and the Cheetah that have been spotted near Maroela camp.
Oh dear…the Honey Badger was at it again!. We saw it got hold of a bag with rubbish in and dragged it outside the fence.
Took a very slow drive down the Rabelais road, then back onto the tar to try and spot the Cheetah that have been seen in that area.
Stopped at Bobbejaankrans lookout to have our morning coffee. While having our coffee we heard a Lion roar in the distance, looked through our binoc’s but could not spot the Lion, it kept on roaring as it got closer, but still we could not see Lion as there were lots of trees and bushes down below.
Two Jeep-Jockeys arrived, lots of noise and walking around, so we decided to carry on. Saw a herd of Buffalo near the lookout point.
Took the road towards Muzandzeni picnic spot to try and see some Sable, no luck.
The road to Muzandzeni was quiet, animals still lying down resting.
After breakfast took a slow drive back to camp, again very little animals around.
Got back to camp, saw that the bag with the rubbish was still lying outside the fence. Andrew then took a long tent pole and managed to gather the rubbish back towards the hole in the fence, collected it and disposed it back into the dustbin. Hope we will not find more rubbish outside the fence.

Day 75 (Maroela 2 of 12) June 24

The resident Honey Badger is causing havoc in the camp after hours. He/she is raiding the dustbins. We woke up to find the camp littered with the rubbish from the dustbins.
There is small hole under the fence where he/she gets in and out, the hole have been closed with rocks, but it still manages to dig the rocks out to get in.
Decided to go Hoedspruit to do our monthly shopping. I also had a much needed haircut.
We seem to be missing out on seeing the Wild dogs that have been roaming around the Orpen area. They were seen just outside the exit gate. Hopefully we will see them before we leave the park.

Day 74 (Maroela 1 of 12) June 23

New Co-ordinates
S 24.45580
E 31.39934
Elevation 436.2 m

Arrived at Maroela at o7h30 we found a great spot right against the fence, set up our rally to within 1 meter of the fence. completely private.
Surprised that there were quite a few spots open as the bookings show the camp is full.
A complete change from Satara, small, quiet, no shop or restaurant and the campers themselves choosing to camp at Maroela rather than bigger camps having a different attitude to the Kruger.
The ablutions are great with very hot water and the showers bigger than other camps where you had to get back into the shower to open the door.
Another bonus is that I have 3G for much quicker connection to the internet, since we left Skukuza we have been on 2G which is so so slow.

Spent the rest of the day in camp admiring the view into the riverbed from our caravan.
Plenty to see. Baboons are a problem, I had to get my broomstick out and chase a troop raiding camp. Keeps me fit and shows my masculinity defending the species, I will rather have that than stressing out in the city traffic and crime.

Day 73 (Satara 30 of 30) June 22

Last day at Satara, left early to do the S100 for the last time this year and was it special.
Traveling along the S100 next to the Nwanedzi River at just after 7am, Lettie spotted a Lioness in the distance walking towards us, when she was about 80 meters from the river she let out a soft call and out of the riverbed on the other side of our car came running five nervous but healthy Lion cubs

They ran to their mother obviously extremely happy to see her after spending the night alone hidden in the riverbed. In typical Lion fashion, they rubbed faces together

The Lioness immediately lay down and let them suckle for a few minutes giving them some warm milk and sustenance on a cold morning, it was still about 5°C. After drinking their fill they did their toilet routine,
she got up and started moving, leading them away from us to rejoin the rest of the pride.
She had obviously fed that night, as her stomach was full and round.

As I watched her disappearing into the distance with the cubs following and playing, tripping each other, play stalking and all the mischievous things young lions do, I reflected on what magnificent creatures these were.
What communication and how took place when she left them in the riverbed to go hunting, how did they know not to follow and be quiet not to attract other predators?
Why did they respond to her call and come out of hiding to feed, how did they know it was their mother?
How did she know where she left them and how did she navigate back to the exact spot?
Was she leading them to a kill she made during the night, how far was it, how does she know her way back?
Was she going to let them feed on the kill with all its dangers?
We sat there alone in the early morning sunshine, at one with nature and all its surprises.
It is scenes and experiences like this that make us do what we are doing and renew our e
enthusiasm to return every year and stay as long as we can.
Returned to camp to clean and pack up
It is not a good idea to park under a tree, after 30 days every bird in the area must have shat on my rally tent and add-a-room. It took me most of the afternoon to wash it off and let it dry.
We moved the caravan to allow a young couple to set up on our site, which they had been eyeing for some time and approached us when they saw us packing up.
As is custom on the last night at a camp we went to the Restaurant for supper. Watched the Soccer, fantastic first half, why can’t they play like that all the time and for 90 minutes?
Satara is a great all action camp, plenty of game, people, cars, yet it has its quiet and peaceful times as well. Looking forward to Maroela, a much smaller quieter camp.

DAY 72 (SATARA 29 of 30) JUNE 21

Our second last day at Satara, moving to Maroela on Wednesday.
Out early again 06:h00 to go to Girivane. Arrived at Girivane, only the Baboons were in the tree, so no Lions or Leopard as they will let you know if they are nearby.
Carried on towards the Timbavati picnic spot, turned back to the tar road on our way back to camp. We decided to try and see if we could see the herd of Buffalo’s on the S90. At the same spot as yesterday they came crossing the road in their hordes. Easily +500 strong.
Decided to go back to camp for breakfast. A few klm away from camp we saw this White Rhino mother with her calf. He/she was too cute!

Further down the road we saw a Southern Reedbuck…at last we can add another mammal to our master list!

Went out to Girivane again this afternoon. Sat there till the last minute hoping to see the Leopard, but no go.
The International Space Station came over Satara camp at 18:29. It is the second time we saw it over Kruger Park. Amazing that a lot of people around us here did not know about this and some children thought it was a satellite.

DAY 71 (SATARA 28 OF 30) JUNE 20

Got an early start, decided to do the S90 to see if we could see the 2 male Lions. A herd of Buffalo crossed the road, this female had her own grass necklace on

This little family of Swainsons were sunning themselves in the road.

This Zebra posed for us

Turned onto the S41 and found 2 male Lions a few km from Gudzani east water hole.
They were too far in the bush to take photos.
A while later, on the same road, we found 6 Lions feeding on a Giraffe. Also battled to take photos as there was a major traffic jam. Managed a few photos

The young males in the pride

Decided to go and have breakfast as it was now nearly 12pm!
Stopped to see if the Lions were still feeding on the small Elephant. The 2 males were still feeding and defending the carcass against the vultures, who by now were all sitting in a tree nearby.

Wow 3 Lions sightings in a mornings drive on the same road!

DAY 70 (SATARA 27 OF 30) JUNE 19

Decided to do the Sweni one more time before we move to Maroela camp on Wednesday.
This road have been “dead” for us now for 2 years, meaning cats. Even the game is scarce.
Took this photo of the sun rising with this Kudu’s silhouette in the front.

Had breakfast at Muzandzeni, was very busy due to the school holidays.
Drove down to Shimangweni dam, found a herd of Buffalos drinking and play sparring with each other.
After a while the resident Hippo decided he wanted to go and sun himself, but the Buffalo were on the spot where he wanted to go, started to chase the Buffs, they had a bit of a standoff, but the Hippo surged forward and they gave way. He then settled in his little “hole” in the sand and dozed off ignoring the buffs.
We sat there for quite a while watching the buffs and hippo. We had a little snooze in the car, sun was nice and warm as it was chilly this morning.
While driving towards Girivane water hole we noticed a fire burning in that direction.
Sat there until it was time to get back to camp hoping to see the Leopard again, but no luck.

This photo shows the sunset and fire from camp in the distance.