Biyamiti Loop | Crocodile and Veld Monitor Lizard at Biyamiti Weir S23, S114, S113, H2-2 & H3
This page is a continuation of the drive which involved the completion of 3 loop roads south and south east of Skukuza. On the previous page (refer to map below after clicking to enlarge) I described the drive along Randspruit Road and a visit to
eventually arriving at Afsaal where I took a short break.
This section continues after leaving Afsaal, down the H2-2 (waypoint 590), past a Jock of the Bushveld monument to once more get onto the S114 to head north to Biyamiti Weir.
Waypoint 591 is a historical point and plaque originally named Fihla-Manzi or hidden water. The name has been changed to Fihlemanti after the creek of the same name. History has it that the old traders using this route to Delagoa Bay between 1875 and 1892 favoured the point as a stop-over (outspan … where horses were released from yokes) because of the water from the spring close by.
However the source of the spring was lost for many years until re-discovered in 1986 by Dr U de V Pienaar.
On the 24th July 1926 a ranger, Harold Trollope camped here and on August 3rd his father in law, John Glen-Leary, was attacked and killed by a Leopard in the vicinity of the Hlambanyati Spruit (is this now the Biyamiti??) some 3kms from the marked spot.
The lost spruit Fihlamanzi is shown on the map above just north east of waypoint 592. This latter waypoint marks the intersection with the S114 and the H2-2. There is another monument here identifying the fact that this was the road to Delagoa Bay in the 19th century.
A second Jock of the Bushveld monument was placed here and close by I saw a tree in blossom I hadn’t noticed at any other point … 5-leaved bright yellow flower with large protruding yellowish-orange centre about 2 to 3 metres high.
Waypoint 593 is the Biyamiti Weir where a large crocodile was lying facing upstream in front of the weir. An African Crake came out from its hiding place just long enough to get a shot of this shy bird. A large rocky structure was evident downstream and it covered the whole river bed. The road forks at the southern end of the weir crossing and the short loop is well worth driving to get an alternative view looking down onto the weir. Keep an eye open for Fish Eagles in the trees along the bank.
Waypoint 594 marks the point where the
S23 and S114 converge at the start of the Biyamiti Loop. I covered the loop in an anti-clockwise direction. The eastern section of the loop follows the Biyamiti River.
Coming back down the loop on the S23 I got some shots of a Veld Monitor on the road … it pretended it was not able to be seen. It lay flat to the ground and crept or squirmed ever so slowly across the sand road until it reached the grass verge and then, with lightening acceleration, disappeared into the vegetation.
At waypoint 595 was a viewpoint over the river and an impressive display of 5 large boulders stood proud in the river bed. In fact the Biyamiti River seems to consist of a long series of large boulders in this vicinity. The sight must be extremely impressive when the river is coming down in flood.
In one particular section of the S23 was a point where Zebra, Impala and Kudu browsed and grazed peacefully together in a wonderful rocky setting.
After completing the southwards drive down the S23 I doubled back to get onto the S113 and then H3 to head back to Skukuza.
Waypoint 596 is the bridge crossing the Muhlambamadvube River on the main H3 road. The watering point was just a few hundred metres further along the road … about 6 years ago I witnessed at this exact point the largest pride of Lions I’ve ever seen in the Kruger. They got up from their resting point near the solar panel and walked across the road immediately next to the car for an unforgettable sight.
Close by is a monument indicating this point was on a centuries old trade route. It was explored first in 1845 by Carolus Trichard.
At waypoint 597 there was a family group of 6 Southern Ground Hornbills demolishing a pile of Elephant Dung to get at any insects and/or seeds they could find in the pile. There was a single juvenile still in its immature colours.
It was shortly after this I saw 5 Elephants, the very first sighting of the day. There were 2 very young playful members in the group.
Waypoint 598 is the Delaporte watering point donated by Kel and Thomas Freeborn, lovers and protectors of wildlife.
A couple of hundred metres from this point I managed to get a few shots of a young Elephant grazing in the Muhlambamadvube River bed just below the bridge. In a small pool close to the Elephant was a Hamerkop working the pool … the bird would shuffle its feet in the mud, wait a while and then repeat the process. It was trying to dislodge mud-loving creatures this way. Further upstream in the river bed were other Elephants browsing along the banks.
As I got close to Skukuza I witnessed 5 Warthogs follow each other in single file and then take turns to enter a rainwater culvert underneath the road. A nice end to a great day.