The camp gate opens at 5:30AM, but we are a little slow this morning. We load the car, take some pictures of a noisy Cape Glossy Starling just outside the door, grab a tea and a coffee with some biscuits at the coffee shop and hit the road by 7:15AM. We are driving the S-100 this morning. It is known as a productive road. From there we plan on a big S curve drive crossing H1-3 as we work our way to Lower Sabie for the night. The whole big loop back to H1-3 is just 30KM of good gravel and tarred road, but we spend nearly 3 hours looking and driving. It is a wonderful section. People staying at Kirkmann’s had said we wouldn’t see the animals up close, but for us, so far, that has been very far from the truth for most of our sightings. This morning is no exception. We drive by herds of wildebeest and zebra mixed in with impala,several elephants, Cape buffalo and waterbuck as close as ten feet from us. We also see more giraffe and a male and female Steenbok. Carolyn could watch the girraffe all day, but we must move on!
At one point, we come across two ostrich not too far off the road. The most fun event of the morning is at a low water crossing where we see a small crocodile, about two feet long. He is sitting right on the edge of the cement road pad so we stop for a close look and pictures and Dick spots a monitor lizard about a foot from him and zeros in for pictures of him. This is a pretty little creek so I am taking pictures downstream for the scenery and low and behold the “rocks” a ways down steam rise up and open their mouths…hippos…great! Of course, while we are occupied with these events the little crocodile decides the shade of the car is very appealing and disappears under the car! We do not want to hit him so we are hanging out of the doors looking under the wheels as we inch our way off the crossing. We finally can see him and he was right in the middle under the car. How neat can it get!
We are working our way over to Muzandzeni, an enclosed, shady, picnic area, for lunch when Carolyn spots a white rhinoceros in the distance. The road has a bend and we think we might have a better view around the bend…well we do, not of that one, but of the two others that are almost in the road munching away on lunch! We take pictures and inch on by! At the picnic stop, we visit with a South African family that comes to Kruger several times a year. They are surprised to find that we are on our own and that I actually booked the camps over the internet. He said not many Americans come to Kruger. He also tells us that almost back to the H1-3 the way we are going we will see a kill that happened earlier this morning.
Sure enough, we find a traffic jam where a giraffe and a group of at least tree lioness came together. The kill blocks the one lane gravel road and the traffic is making a new path through the brush around the site. We can see the lions resting in the grass and have too good a view of the giraffe, but we do not get any pictures due to the congestion and poor conditions.
After lunch we do the Orpen Dam loop again and cut over to go down to Lower Sabie . It is the middle of the day and there is not as much going on through here today. We do see one elephant standing in the middle of the road that is not too happy to see us and a few more giraffe and another leopard tortoise.The dam site is nice and set up so we can get out and look around.
We head out H-10 to Lower Sabie hoping to be there by about 3:00PM. This is a beautiful drive with great views off toward Mozambique to the East and over Kruger to the West. The road climbs up the Muntshe ridgeline and stop at the Nkumbe overlook whiuch provides a spectacular viewpoint. We get out at one and look out over Kruger and it is truly the “look primeval!” Maybe 800 feet below us are the Krueger plains and woodlands in the distance. We see a flock of ostrich and a lone rhino grazing in the plains below us…”The Land before Time” …what a sight. I think this is one of those time and place things that define the experience and make the trip!
Our day is not done yet. We are almost to Lower Sabie and see some elephants in the distance with some babies. Well there is a convenient loop right there so off we go to get a closer look at the herd! We drive out a way and stop to watch. The herd is moving our way and before we realize it, the group surrounds us! Finally, there seems to be a break so we head out. I guess the car engine annoyed one of the mamas because she sounds off and makes as if she will chase us.
Our last stop of the day is at Mkondozi Dam another area you can get out of the car. It is a nice picnic area up on a bluff over looking a dam and water hole. There are impala grazing around the edge of the lake.
During the day we see several birds that we don't know, but they are interesting and we are able to get nice pictures. Hopefully we will find a book to tell us what they are.
We get to Lower Sabie a little after 4:00PM after a full day. This cabin has been redone and is nicer than last night’s. We are facing the Sabie River and it is a pretty setting. We unload the car and have our sundowner out on the lawn watching the hippos play and sound off in the river as the sun goes down. Carolyn had picked up some instant soup, cheese and crackers earlier so that is dinner and we call it a great day!