Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lower Sabie Rest Camp

On the drive down from Satara to Lower Sabie we stopped at Tshokwane picnic area for an early lunch.  Dean and I split kudu steak and paps.  Bernita had the waffles and ice cream and Ron had the bush breakfast.  Dean and I wanted the ice cream but they would not sell it without the waffle so we split that also, all for $5 (50 rand).  While we were at the picnic area we were entertained by the Vervet monkeys, bushbuck, and an elephant strolling thru the area.  We arrived at Lower Sabie around 1 and had to wait to checkin until 2.  This camp is very crowded, especially on the weekends, with lots of tourists.  After we checked in we went out for a short drive.  We thought we saw a lion but it was under a tree so we did not get a good look at him.  There is more vegetation here so spotting is difficult.
Oct. 27 - My birthday!  I got to spend my birthday in South Africa.  What a memory.  We went out for a drive in the morning to Crocodile Gate and saw everything except the cats!  We didn't go out in the afternoon.  Dean and I split a nice bottle of wine and then ate at the restaurant.  The food is not great but very reasonable.  We split the fish and chips and the chicken breast, had more wine and bottled water all for under $20.  There was very few people at the restaurant so we had a nice quiet dinner to ourselves.
Oct. 28 - The four of us drove North of Lower Sabie and saw again lots of elephants, buffaloes, ostriches, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, baboons, interesting birds, rhinos.  We saw probably the smallest baby elephant - couldn't get a shot since it was no taller than the grass.  But the most exciting sight was seeing two cheetahs about 10 feet from the car.  They walked past our car, behind it on the road and into the brush.  What a sight.  We talked to a fellow that had seen a pride of lions this morning at Crocodile Gate.  Wish we could see that the day before, but we have
three more days.  We really thought we would see the Big Five everyday so we are a little disappointed.  But at least we have seen the Big Five during our stay.
During the afternoon drive we saw more elephants, kudus, bushbucks, and the cutest baby hippo.
While we were fixing dinner back at camp our neighbors spotted a bush baby in the trees.  So cute!
Pictures:  baboon family, Vermet monkeys, the four of us at the picnic area, bushbuck, warthog, giraffe, female ostriches, Dean and I on my birthday, wildebeest, cheetah, and baby hippo.

Satara Rest Camp Oct. 21 thru 25

Oct. 21 we drove to Skukuza Rest Camp because it is the only camp in the park with Internet.  We all felt that we needed to check our email since we had not checked it in about 10 days.  It is 99 kilometers from Satara to Skukuza and it rained most of the day.  We did not see much today except for a brief glimpse of a leopard.  When we got to Skukuza we were told there was no Internet.  S we did some sopping and had an early lunch.  Skukuza is the largest camp and has the best store.  After lunch we found out that there was internet at the conference center.  So we paid $5 for a half hour and finally connected with the outside world!  What a blessing to find no bad news from anyone and to be able to email and post our blog.  We drove back to camp again in the light rain.
Oct. 22 - Dean and I stayed in camp this morning.  It was raining most of the morning.  Ron and Bernita (the diehards!) went it in the rain and did see some lions briefly. In the afternoon we all went out but didn't see much today.  I guess the animals do not like the rain either.
Oct. 23- Clear day and we started early again.  Ron likes to leave at 5:30 when the gates open.  We drove over to a waterhole and saw a dead elephant in the water with about 20 crocodiles close by.   Yuk!  There was also hippos and lots of birds.  Then we had a bush breakfast at N'wanetsi picnic area.  Well, it was close to a bush breakfast but I forgot the eggs so we had bacon, sausage, and potatoes. We were driving back to camp when we saw a lot of cars stopped on the road.  This is a clear sign of something major like lions.  And we were not disappointed.  We saw 2 young male lions(probably brothers) with their manes just starting to grow, in the tall grass.  At first they would just stick their heads up but finally they walked out of their hiding place.  We had to wait for 2 hours for them to get up and walk around.  What a sight.  My camera does not do it justice but Deans shots will be great.
Oct. 24 - On the morning drive we watched four hyenas for about 30 minutes and saw zebras and elephants.  The afternoon drive was one of the best.  We saw huge herds of buffalo, elephants, wildebeest, zebras, an  ostrich, and a secretarybird.  We are starting to spot a lot of really nice birds.  Again, Dean has the better camera so he has the great shots of birds.
Oct 25 - Morning drive was very uneventful but the afternoon drive we repeated from yesterday with huge herds of buffaloes, elephants, zebras, giraffes, baboons, warthogs.  This time I got some great shots.  We packed up tonight and are preparing to leave Satara after 8 nights.  This was a little too long for Dean and I but we did see some great animals.
Pictures:  rhinos, saddle-billed stork, waterbuck, giraffe, 3 pictures of the lions, spotted hyena, warthogs, 2 elephant pictures, 2 buffalo pictures, ostrich, and zebra.