Lake Panic Bird Hide on Mafunyana Creek
Lake Panic is an earthen dam on the Mafunyana Creek (named after one
of the nicknames of L B Steyn a Park warden. Literally the word means he
who eats greedily. Lake Panic is close to Skukuza camp and my wife
suggested it was named after all those who are tempted to stay longer
than they should and the result is that they panic in order to get to
the camp before the gates close.
If you click on this small image below you will see an aerial photograph of Lake Panic along with the position of the bird hide (picture courtesy of Google Earth).
Waypoints Lake Panic 222
In fact Lake Panic is the name that was given shortly after construction was completed about 1975 when, during a major cloudburst, it was feared that the dam wall would give way. I can also think of another reason why the dam has been appropriately named after witnessing an incident there on June 26th.
Just before the turn off to the parking area for the bird hide is the stream, Mafunyana, which at the time was dry and as we crossed over it we saw a beautiful female Bushbuck about 50 metres away on the banks of the creek. After getting out of the car we walked about 50metres to the hide down a fenced-in walkway. There were already about 3 cars at the parking spot.
The hide is "L" shaped allowing a view east towards the bend in the dam (see
photo image above) and a view south across the short width of the dam close to
the creek inlet. This section is heavily grown over with various aquatic plants
including water lilies, reeds, and grasses of various sorts as well as trees.
The far bank as can also be seen form the photo above is heavily treed and
slopes down to the dam edge. The hide is perfectly situated for close viewing of
so many things with the Southern bank being about 100 metres from the hide
itself. Just below the hide I managed to get a great shot of a crocodile. This
is one of my very favourite photos and you can see it by clicking the small
|In the space of 15 minutes or so, since it was quite late in the afternoon and we had to reach Skukuza before the gates closed, we saw hippos, crocodiles and one was seen eating a fish, terrapins, a wide variety of aquatic birds including herons, an African Darter drying off only metres from the hide, jacanas, and Pied Kingfishers actually catching fish. Watching a Goliath Heron fly in was reminiscent of a Jumbo landing at Johannesburg International. Most were seen at very close quarters (see photo to left). But the best was yet to come ... alas we had to wait until the next day when thankfully we decided to spend a couple of hours at the dam before heading north to Satara. Read about the incident here ...|