Driving the H1-2 to Satara. We view a Leopard Kill and a Giant Stick Insect

Aerial view of part of Skukuza Camp Kruger National Park 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 picture.
Giant Stick Insect Body 220 mm long 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 Giant Stick 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?
Wahlberg's or Peter's Epauletted bats at Skukuza Kruger park 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.
Vervet monkey after a fight 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

Map Skukuza area 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.
Ground Hornbill with eyelashes 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.
Leopard with kill at Manzimhale dam Kruger National park 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"

Buffalo herd Olifantsdrinnkgat Kruger National park Waypoint 232 ... Olifantdrinkgat. A large herd of Buffalo were resting on the far bank of dam. Shortly after we came upon 2 large rocky outcrops on the right waypoint 233 and about 300 metres further down the road we came to the rock memorial in honour of Eileen Orpen at Waypoint 234. The Orpens donated 7 farms to the Kruger National Park.
KrKruger Tablets at bottom of Krugertabletkop Kruger National Park Waypoint 235 is the familiar Kruger Tablets monument. This monument was in honour of President S J P Kruger and Minister Piet Grobler. The bronze memorial tablets are fixed to a large rock at the foot of Krugertabletkop (the hill here).
Hippos at Leeupan Kruger National Park Waypoint 236 marked the turn off to Leeupan (Lion Pan) some 7kms south west of Tshokwane. The name alone makes it a favourite visiting spot for visitors to the Kruger. The pan is situated in the area where water drains in 2 directions to feed the Silolweni Creek. The Pan has also had the name Lily Pan at some time in the past. The next waypoint 237 was a stop at Silolweni Dam before reaching Tshokwane at waypoint 238.