Puffadder and Lioness on the S90 and a Big Elephant Tusker on the S100

Satara Camp Aerial View Kruger National Park from Google Earth

Waypoints  252 to 273: Satara Camp is one of my favourites, not because of the camp itself but because the surrounding areas are rich in wildlife, trees, birds and all that makes Kruger so special. The image is a photo from Google Earth  showing the camp from the air. You can see the photo was taken at night (notice the lighting) from the satellite. The name Satara is the result of a misunderstanding regarding the number 17 in Hindi language. The rest camp was the site of a ranger post since 1910 and the camp itself dates back to 1928. If you're like me you'll go around in circles for a while trying to find your bungalow.

 We spent 4 nights at Satara. My younger son, Gareth (school holidays) and my wife, Patty were able to accompany me on this trip. This helped a lot with the "spotting". The Mavumbye and Gudzani Rivers (on right of map) play a vitally important role in this region.
Waypoint 251 is Satara Camp. We headed north from the camp aiming to join the S90 and use this as the entry point to a longish loop that is always very interesting. It normally holds a few surprises. Today would be no exception.


Waypoint 254 was a where we got a nice shot of a Lappet-faced Vulture   close to the road. Shortly after we reached the turn off to the S90 at waypoint 255 and after about 5 kms we came across the first surprise for the day.  
Coucal I've mentioned previously that I've never seen many snakes in the Kruger National Park so to find a Puffadder slowly crossing the S90 road was a good sighting. 
Mavumbye Creek Kruger National Park Waypoint 256 to 258 ... We were trying to identify a couple of small birds at the Mavumbye Creek when just ahead of us a lioness crossed the road from right to left. This turned into a sad but wonderful incident and the story is told in depth along with a series of photographs that tell a tale.
waterhole on the Mapetane Creek Kruger National Park Waypoint 259 is a wonderfully mysterious waterhole on the Mapetane Creek (means someone who helps others to get into trouble) where on a past occasion we disturbed an elephant which decided it didn't like us. Today it was quiet with a Wildebeest enjoying a drink in peace. 
Black Crake feeding in Gudzani Creek Kruger national Park Buffalo eyeing us up! 
Wader A nice shot of a Three-banded Plover was taken.
Small Crocodile sunbathing Gudzani Creek Kruger national park Waypoint 263 is another crossing of the Gudzani before it joins with a small stream from the east and shortly after this confluence of the 2 streams the Gudzani flows into the Gudzani dam at waypoint 266.  The drive along the S41 so far had enabled us to see many grazing and browsing animals in large numbers including ... Wildebeest, Zebra, Kudu, Giraffe, Impala, waterbuck.  
Gudzani Dam Kruger national Park Waypoint 260 and marks the turn off to the S41 and about 7 kms later at waypoint 261 we cross the Gudzani Creek some 20kms from Satara. The Gudzani is a large tributary of the N'wanetsi River and where a Black Crake is feeding vigorously on what are probably tiny nymphs flowing down with the current. Shortly therafter we  approach Gudzani East watering point driven by a solar panel system and presented in memory of Hendrik Alberts. This was waypoint 262. 
Enlarged map of Gudzani Dam Kruger National Park Waypoint 264 ... A small crocodile was sunbathing on a rock in one of the Mavumbye pools next to the road. At waypoint 265 is an entrance/exit point for the Mananga 4 x 4 trail. There are a number of recently opened 4 x 4 trails that make use of previously designated "No Entry" and firebreak roads. In all cases, the routes were carefully chosen to comply with the Kruger National Park recreation opportunity zoning or ROZ Plan. The ROZ plan is designed to keep wilderness areas intact but to identify and develop opportunities for tourism in footprints already exploited by park operations. It is advised that all drivers use a GPS. Garmin GPS Units Suitable for Mapping Use & General Purpose  
Burchells Coucal Kruger National Park At waypoint 266 is the magnificent Gudzani Dam. On a previous visit to this typically African Dam we saw a large flock of African Openbill Storks . Today in the cloudy, rain-threatening scene it seemed even more mysterious and dangerous. Can you imagine the numbers of crocodiles that are in this dam? Not a place to go for a swim. Take a look at the map below to see how the Dam is fed from two important streams ... the Gudzani from the north and the Mavumbye from the east. These 2 stream create 2 legs as it were. The dam wall is close to waypoint 266 ... note where the river leaves the dam. Waypoint 267 is the turn off to the S100 leading back to Satara. The alternative way and we didn't have time to do this is to continue down the S41 from this point and to make the way back via the N'Wanetsi picnic spot. Saw another Burchell's Coucal here. 
Tusket with single large Tusk Elephant Kruger National park This map is on a very large scale to clearly show how two important streams which are tributaries of the N'Wanetsi come together to create the Gudzini dam. They join the N'Wanetsi close to the S41 about 6 kms SE of the dam wall. 
large Tusker elephant with second bull elepahnt N'wanetsi River Waypoint 268 is a wonderful view overlooking the N'Wanetsi ... it means the river with shiny or shimmering water. We continued along the banks of the river and after about 1.5 kms came to a spot where there were 2 elephants browsing on the side of the N'Wanetsi. One of the elephants is what is known as a Tusker (an elephant wit extra large tusks). Except in this case there was only a single tusk although it was very long. By far the longest I've ever seen and I've had the pleasure of seeing many many elephants. 
Pair of Fish Eagles N'Wanetsi River Kruger national Park The Tusker just described was with another much smaller bull and about 500 metres in front at the roadside was anther bull elephant that remained to be negotiated. Compare tusk sizes in this picture. The one tusk could have been lost in a fight or digging or doing some other type of demolition that elephants do naturally. 
Wildebees and Warthogs Kruger national park Waypoint 270 was another Mananga trail marker discussed above. There had been quite a number of elephants along this section of road close to the N'wanetsi River. We were fortunate to see a pair of African Fish-Eagles sitting next to each other on a dead tree.
Green Wood-Hoopoes Kruger National park Waypoint 271 ... A solar panel watering point donated by Hendrik Alberts along with Linda and Vic Fenner who contributed to this project in 1984. The watering point is called Shibotwana (Little Pot). Close by there was a flock of Green Wood-Hoopoes that make quite a racket and have wonderful colours espescially in flight.
Savannah Scene Satara Area Kruger National Park One of the reasons the lion population is higher in the Satara area is the large quantities of browsing and grazing animals along with the long grass into which lions can so easily blend ready to ambush their prey. We've seen so many animals including these Warthogs pictured next to a Wildebees in this picture. Waypoint 272 was a stream crossing where we saw Buffalo and Giraffe. Just before this point I took the picture shown here. In this image you'll find a typical scene for this route. Note the herds of Zebra, and Impala grazing in the rich grass savannah with relatively few Knobthorn trees. This is prime Lion country. This is Africa as we see it so often when dreaming of this wonderful land. This is my everlasting image of the S90 and S100 routes. At waypoint 273 we rejoined the main road. Road marker Kruger National park