Driving the H1-2 to Satara. We view a Leopard Kill and a Giant Stick Insect
The whole area around
Skukuza (280 metres above sea
level) is rich in game and wonders of the bush in general.
Skukuza is the largest camp in the Kruger and the Administration
Centre for the Park as a whole. When you take a look a this
aerial photo I think you will be amazed to see how very big
Skukuza actually is. The two place markers show the old rail
bridge across the river and the reception centre. The staff and
"working" area is at least the same size probably larger than
what you can see in the image. It is off to the left of the
The previous night we saw the most enormous Stick Insect.
I had no idea they grew so large. I did a bit of checking up
when I got back by visiting the Transvaal Museum website
Insect and it seems we may just have seen the largest Giant
Stick Insect around. The Museum reported they grow to 185 mm and this
was not less than 200 mm. I didn't measure the length with its legs
outstretched but looking at the picture the total length would certainly
exceed 360 mm. Is this a record?
|Waypoint 223 ... If you've stayed at Skukuza you'll know there are two quite large thatched dining areas just outside the cafeteria. Have you ever looked up to the Apex or been there towards dusk? If not then next time take a look up and you might get a surprise ... see photo. As late afternoon approaches these bats drop down and fly off through the open sides of the area. The bats are Peter's or Wahlberg's Epaulette Fruit Bats (notice the two white marks ... not eyes) and I'm not sure which since you need to look in the mouths to make sure and this I didn't do.|
Gareth got up early and walked around the Skukuza camp.
He witnessed a troupe of
Vervet Monkeys attack a lone male. The monkey was bleeding
badly and eventually managed to escape into the bush. He thinks the male
was trying to invade the group and none of the troupe welcomed this.
Before heading north to Satara via Tshokwane we spent some time at Lake Panic Bird Hide and saw a Crocodile with its Bushbuck kill.
Crossing the Sabie and Sand Rivers
Waypoints 223 to 237
|Waypoints 225 and 226 are the crossing points over the Sabie and Sand Rivers respectively. Nothing much was stirring today. We took at waypoint 227 the turn off onto a wonderful little drive called the Maroela Loop. My son saw 2 leopards in 2 different spots on this road on a morning drive last year. Waypoint 228 is a crossing point over a wide expanse of dry river bed.|
|Waypoint 229 was the end of the Maroela loop and shortly after that we saw a family of Southern Ground-Hornbills. Take a look at the eyelashes on this wonderful specimen.|
|Waypoint 230 ... In a tree close to the Mantimahle Dam, named after the creek it dammed, there was a leopard in a tree with its kill, partly eaten, hanging over a branch. The leopard had caught an Impala and as we got there it was on its way down from the tree possibly to go for a drink. There were lots of vehicles at the spot so maybe this was a reason for its moving off until things became quieter. For certain the animal would be back.|
|If you look closely at this picture you'll see the entrails hanging over the tree branch and the prey was still very fresh. The leopard worked hard to drag the Impala to that height. About 200 metres from this spot was a herd of Impala on high alert and I guessed that this was the herd that had been attacked by the leopard just discussed.|
Discovery of Elephant Rock Painting
Waypoint 231 was where a small water hole close to the road on the right hand side is located. It is formed from the N'Watindlophu Creek which is a tributary of the Sabie River and means Elephant Creek. In 1987 Ranger Sam Fourie and Information Officer Gert Erasmus discovered a well preserved panel of a rock painting of 4 elephants on a small granite hill next to this creek. Ranger Sam Fourie was trampled to death by an elephant some years later in the Stolsnek area ... reference "A Dictionary of Kruger National Park Place Names"