Time to Leave Via Skukza and Pretoriuskop But Not Without a Surprise... Back Soon.
Today we would be leaving the Kruger. We decided
to take a longish route out rather than go to the nearest gate which
would have been Orpen Gate, Theoretically it
would take about 3 hours but of course it took more like 5. But that's
the Kruger for you ... it holds you back, it is reluctant to let you go.
We would see one of the most remarkable sightings ever as we approached Skukuza very close to the Sabie River. I've written a full article on the incident and I only briefly refer to it below.
Waypoint 326 we turned left onto the H12 to cross the Sabie River low water bridge (waypoint 327) before proceeding along the H4-1 that tracks the Sabie River downstream of the confluence with the Sand River. The river was flowing well and the Hippos were still in their normal spot west of the bridge at the southern end.
Waypoint 328 is where the remarkable incident I referred
to above took place. There were 2 Southern Ground Hornbills not
far from the river bank. One was standing motionless as if on
sentry duty while the other was continuously and forcibly
stabbing something with its long strong bill. At first it wasn't
possible to see what as going on and then it was revealed ...
the victim of the stabbing was a water monitor. Read the slaying
of the dragon story here ...
Hornbill versus Monitor Lizard.
Waypoint 329 ... is the crossing of the Msimuku river characterised by a few pools with no flow. The literal meaning of Msimuku is "a dumb person" and probably relates to an event involving such a person at some time in the past. I think every visitor finds these river crossings fascinating because they just seem to hold so much promise and mystery. It's as though anything could appear from the side of the steam bed at any time.
Just the other side of Skukuza on the H1-1 is the turn off to the
Mathekanyane Granite Hill (waypoint 330) and the short drive to the top
(331) presents a splendid view looking west. The hill is named after a
small insect (sand flea) which penetrates the skin and forms an
irritating blister. The road that turns off the H1-1 close to this point
here is also called the Napi Road since it leads to the
landmark and monument closer to
Waypoints 332 and 333 mark spectacular boulder formations
one on each side of the road which are the home of
Klipspringers. We didn't see any of these small antelope this
time around but these animals are extremely agile and can be
enjoyed as they so "boldly" jump from boulder to boulder.
Shortly after I got a good close up shot of a juvenile
... take a look at the eyes, ears and white markings around the
The outcrops of rocks mentioned above are surrounded by
quite flat land. What happened here to create such a massive
change and when ....? We're left to wonder and guess.
Waypoint 334 is a look out point close to the Transport
Dam ... more correctly the Vervoerdam
because it was donated by the Department of Transport around 1971.
And at 335 a large herd of
Waterbuck were at the actual
dam. We counted 24.
A dead tree was standing all alone at the the side of the
dam and on it was a large
nest (probably abandoned since the bird only uses this
intricate nest for one season). And just as though they were paying
tenants a group of Spotted Back Weavers have taken tenancy. I think the
species is the one described since this bird lives in large colonies and
commonly build their nests on trees above water. In addition and
typically the spout to the nest can be long short or even absent
(Reference Kenneth Newman "Birds of the Kruger National Park") which is
certainly the case with this untidy bunch. Maybe that's why the name has
been changed to
There were no birds around to verify this assumption.
|A Brown-headed Parrot parrot close to the Pretoriuskop Gate was our last sighting for this trip. It was 13.15 and we'd covered around 800 kms over the 5 days.|
Waypoint 336 marks the Napi Boulder a memorial to Justice J F Ludorf who was a board member of the Kruger and also Chairman. He died in 1978. At waypoint 337 the surrounding bush opens up significantly to provide a view of Shitlhave Hill in the distance. Shitlhave is some 647 metres above sea level and very prominent and is the reason for its other name "Ship Mountain". In fact the name Shitlhave is named after Colonel J Stevenson Hamilton's first park ranger Jafuta Shiltlhave. Waypoint 338 is the dam named after the hill and donated by Fred and Thelma Bornmann. At waypoint 339 is a marker indicating the grave of Willem Pretorius who died and was buried at this point in 1845. He was a member of Carel Trichardt's expedition.