Monday, October 21, 2013

Satara Rest Camp October 18 - 20

We left Oliphants and headed South for Satara.  We took a gravel road, bumpy again and saw crocodiles, steenbok, impala, and various birds along the way.  Highlight was seeing a momma warthog with 4 little babies.  We stopped at Timvabati rest area and cooked a full South African breakfast:  sausage, shoulder bacon, potatoes, eggs.  What a feast.  Talked to some locals who said that we were really blending in.  Got to Satara around checkin time of 2PM.  We are on the perimeter which means the only thing between us and the animals is a big fence. After checking in we unpacked and took a walk around the camp.  They have a nice pool, camping area, restaurant, store, gas station, amphitheater.  
On Saturday, Oct. 19, we set out early again in search of lions.  This is suppose to be big cat country.  But the day was misty rainy and cool.  Not too many animals out.  We saw zebras, giunnea fowls, giraffes, more warthogs, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, water bucks, Southern yellow billed hornbills, and the ever present impalas.  It was very cool today.  The weather here can be very warm and then turn cold over night.  We came back in for lunch and went out for an afternoon drive.  When we got back I realized that I had not locked the cabin that held our food.  We have a lot of Vervet monkeys in camp so they got into the cabinet and ate our bananas and spilled our pasta all over our patio.  I learned my lesson!
Today is Sunday and we had a good morning.  We saw three lion cubs early and waited for over an hour for the mother to come back but finally we had to move on.  Then about an hour later we had a female lion cross right in front of us.  We also saw hippos, giraffes, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, fish eagle, elephants, baboons, ostriches, and many interesting birds.  One of the elephants had a collapsed ear.
This afternoon we went out again to a water hole.  We watched impalas, rhinos, saddle billed storks, and more birds.  On the way to and from the water hole we saw a large herd of elephants, ostriches, wildebeest, baboons, and cape buffalo. Tomorrow we are driving to Skuskua Rest Camp where we hope to post all these blogs and use the Internet.

Olifants rest camp, Kruger NP

On October 15, we left bright and early again (5:30 the gates open) and headed from Berg-en-dal to Oliphants which is about 227 Km.  We were on paved roads the entire way.  The highlight of the mornings drive was seeing a leopard just north of Afsaal rest area.  The leopard was holding some women's clothing in its mouth. Hopefully, he found this item of clothing and did not tear it off of some lady!  We watched the leopard for quite awhile.  It was beautiful.  My pictures don't do it justice but Dean got some great shots.  Along the way we saw lots of zebras, elephants, warthogs, and, of course, the ever present impala.  There are over 130,000 impalas in the park and they are everywhere.  Stopped at another picnic area, Tshokwane, about half way and had kudu which tasted like steak, corn mush, which tasted like potatoes, and tomato gravy, which tasted like spagetti sauce, for 30R.  Watched a monkey steal a candy bar from a ladies lunch.  The monkey had a baby hanging on her stomach and was up in a tree eating the candy bar before the women could even yell.
Olifants rest area is situated on a hill over looking the Olifants river.  We could see lots of animals down by the water especially hippos, impalas, and waterbucks.  We have round bungalows and they are air conditioned with cooking area outside.  On Oct. 16, we drove north toward Letaba rest area and saw a heard of elephants, two rhinos facing off in the river, and 4 lions snoozing under a tree.  We had lunch at the Letaba picnic area and continued on to a bird blind.  We watched two elephants playing in the river, more hippos, a rock monitor lizard, a chameleon, turtles, and lots of birds.  That night we had peri-peri chicken and roasted veggies on the grill.  This was another warm day, probably in the 90's.  On Oct. 17, Dean and I took a break and stayed at Oliphants while Ron and Bernita went for a morning drive. We really enjoyed our patio overlooking the river.  After coffee we had breakfast at the restaurant and took a walk around the camp.  We are not getting our daily walk with all this car riding.  During our walk we observed a monkey, with baby hanging on, steal some bread off a patio then open the refrigerator and take a loaf out and start eating it.  I yelled but the monkey did not budge.  Finally I taped on the window of the bungalow and yelled "a monkey is stealing your bread".  A man said thank you and scared the monkey off.  Ron and Bernita had a good siting of a male and female lion.
That night we went on a night drive lead by two guides.  We didn't see much except hares, rabbits, and impalas.  Just not lucky!
Oct. 18, I got up early and went with Ron and Bernita for a two hour drive.  We saw Cape buffalo, elephants, giraffes, zebras.  Then we circled back, picked up Dean, packed the car, and headed for Satara.

Madalene, South Africa and Berg-en- dal Rest Area, Kruger National Park

We are staying at Hhusha-Hhusha B&B in Madalane, South Afica for two nights.  This is a lovely B&B with a pool, cooking area, air conditioned rooms, and located 4 Km from Kruger gate.  The owners are Sarah and Guiomar and they have created a delightful place to stay.  Dean was very impressed and he does not impress easily.  Both mornings we were treated with a hearty breakfast.  The full day of our stay at the B & B we spent 4 hours shopping for 20 days in Kruger where we will do our own cooking.  We shopped at the Spur grocery store which is very large.  Dean and I hit the Tops liqueur store where we bought wine and beer.  The day was very hot, over 100 F, so we got into the pool when we got home.  That night we cooked on the braai (barbecue): lamb chops and corn on the cob.
The next day, Oct. 13, we stopped at the Pick and Save, another grocery store, for a few last minute things, got gas and headed into Kruger.  We had to stop at the entry gate and fill out some paperwork.  Since it was too early to check into Berg-en-dal, we drove a gravel road along the Crocodile River.  The gravel roads are pretty rough but you can only go 40 Km.  Highlight was seeing a large herd of elephants and large herd of baboons.  We checked into Berg-en-dal for two nights.  We had perimeter rooms but we couldn't see anything for the brush.  This is a lovely rest camp with large pool, campground area, store, restaurant, and gas station.  Our rooms were large, air conditioned, bath, inside kitchen, outside braai and large patio. We cooked Boerewors sausage on the grill and fried potatoes and onions.
On Oct. 14, we did over 100 km in the South part of the park.  We stopped at Afsaal rest area and cooked eggs and veggies on the braai.  They are propane and rent for 2 Rand.  The rand is 10 to 1.  There was a lot of groups cooking and a lot of birds waiting for a handout.  We made the mistake of going on a paved road early and coming back on a rough road.  From now on we will try to do the gravel roads when we are fresh since they are very rogh and washboardy.  The highlight of the day was seeing a baby elephant with mother and a baby rhino with his mother.  So cute!  We cooked lamb chops again on the braai and green beans and carrots on the grill.  First day we saw Hippos, Impalas, Helmeted guinea fowl,  Elephant herd, Cape glossy starling, Nyala,  African fish eagle, Chacma baboons.
The second day we saw Elephants,  Giraffes, Crocodiles, White rhinos, Buffalos, Zebras, Hammerkop, Wholly neck stork, Hyenas,  Southern yellow billed hornbill,  Warthogs, Lots of impalas, 
Steenboks,  Swainson's spurfowl,  Lilac breasted roller,  Southern ground hornbill, Mongoose, African mourning dove,  Grey go away bird