MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009 – 81/63 – SATARA REST CAMP
Our wake up knock by Ralph, our guide, is at 5:30AM. As we head out the door at 6:00AM, it starts to rain. There is some discussion, while we have some tea, about delaying the game drive, but Ralph thinks it will clear soon so off we go. It continues to rain for a while and we see another elephantand a duiker during this time. Rain makes the picture taking hard.
Everyone wants to see the cub again so, as the skies are lifting, we work our way to that area. Mama has moved since yesterday, but Ralph soon finds her. They are in a clearing with a large tree today and the cub is very active, playing in the tree.Again, we spend a long time watching. Mama decides she is thirsty, so she and the cub move to a nearby water hole and we followand watch for a while longer.
Ralph sees signs of buffalo so we go off in search of the last of the Big Five. We spot waterbuck, kudu, bushbuck, a chameleon, a leopard tortoise, guinea fowl, snake eagle and a yellow-footed squirrel, a hipo, a big snail, but no buffalo. So, we stop in a dry river bed for morning coffee and hot chocolate with a kick. After this nice break unfortunately, it is time to head back to camp. Off we go and guess what; there is Number 5, the last of the Big Five, the cape buffalo over in the bush.What a great morning! Yes, Ralph has worked at finding the BIG FIVE, but he also has pointed out many smaller interesting things like the smaller birds and eagles, insects, and behavioral things unique to each animal.
Back at camp, we pack up and head to breakfast. We are sorry to leave as we have had a great time, but more adventure is waiting over in Kruger.
It takes us about an hour to work our way around to the Paul Krueger Gate and check in. About 1:00PM we begin our self-drive safari in Kruger National Park. We buy a Map/Guide Book for 25 Rand at the entrance and begin to work our way to Satara Rest Camp on H4-1.
Bingo! A few kilometers along the Sabie River we see a huge herd of elephant with many babies and small elephants walking along the riverbank.What a beautiful sight! However, this is only a taste of what we will see. Along H4-1 we see several small herds of impala and several baboons, then we turn off the main paved road onto the gravel road to Orpen Dam. We do this loop and have great sightings of more elephants, which are right on the road beside us, three giraffe, also right beside the road munching on the tree tops, a herd of zebra with some impala mixed in and, of couse, the indigant elephant!All these animals are on the edge of the road or very close to the road. Hmmm, maybe a bit to close somethimes! We then turn on to H3, the paved road to Satara, and find a small herd of waterbuck by a pond, some kudu and a whole troop of baboons sitting in the very middle of the road eating and picking fleas off each other. The final treat for us is the herd of Cape buffalo we find grazing not far from the camp. What a great drive!
We pull into camp about 5:00PM, check in and move into the room. It is a roundavel style cottage with a bedroom, bath and an outside kitchen set up which faces the electric fence that separates us from the lions! We have had a full day, so we get some takeout hamburgers from the coffee shop to eat in with a good drink and talk over all that we have seen. We have had another fabulous day!