In April the Lowveld is in the middle of its autumn season (officially starting in March) although autumn in the Lowveld still has warm to hot days. Pretoriuskop and Satara are becoming drying, the small pans and rivers are starting to dry up although there is still plenty of water around. Temperatures are lower than the blistering heat of full summer, with daily maximum temperatures around 30C for Satara and 27C for Pretoriuskop. The grasses and leaves are also turning yellow and starting to take on the winter browns and reds.

 

Jock Memmorial 1 960px WM
Jock Memorial
Waterbuck Female and Baby 4 960px WM
Female Waterbuck and Baby
Warthog Group Drinking 3 960px WM
Warthog Family Drinking
Klipspringer on Rock 025 960px WM
Male Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) Afrikaans for Rock Jumper because they live on cliffs and rocky outcrops

Pretoriuskop

This is Kruger’s oldest restcamp and lies in the south west of the park. It is also the highest and coolest (temperature wise) camp in the park. The relatively high rainfall in the Pretoriuskop region does result in long grass and can make game spotting difficult, but it is regarded as being a good area for Wild Dog sightings. The Pretoriuskop region is dominated by Granite domes and outcrops which make for interesting views of the bushveld and a place of interest is the nearby Shabeni Hills….an impressive granite dome. There are also historical sites commemorating Jock of the Bushveld, a true story of the travels and experiences of author Sir James Percy FitzPatrick and his much loved and respected Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jock.

Leopard Tortoise ambling down the road. Click on the zoom view link below for a close up view and to see what he does next.

 

Click for Zoom View Binoculars

 

 

 

 

Click for Zoom View Binoculars

 


 

Pied Kingfisher 4 960px WM
Pied Kingfisher
Green Backed Heron 2 960px WM
Green Backed Heron
Hammerkop with baby turtle 3 960px WM
Hammerkop
Black Crake 1 960px WM
African Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostra)

Lake Panic

This is one of 11 Bird/Game Hides in the Kruger Park. It’s an earth dam constructed on the Mafunyana Creek to provide nearby Skukuza with water. Its name was apparently derived from a heavy downpour in 1975 that threatened to wash away the dam and caused panic in Skukuza camp.

The hide itself is quite large but there is a limit of 10 vehicles so as not to overcrowd the hide. Herons, Jacana, crocodiles, hippos and terrapins are regularly seen but there’s always a chance of something more dramatic…..on a recent trip we saw a large Black Mamba drinking on the opposite bank from the right side of the L-shaped hide.

 

 

 


Elephant Bull at Leeubron 1 960px WM
Elephant Bull (Loxodonta Africana)
Elephant Damage to Tree 2 960px WM
Tree Damage from Elephant Tree bark is a regular part of Elephants diets, using their tusks to strip the bark.
Mud Bath to Cool Down 3 960px WM
Elephant Bull Having a Mudbath. Mud protects against parasites, stinging insects and the sun.
Woodlands Kingfisher 4 960px WM
Woodlands Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) A common but migratory species, present in Kruger from Nov to Apr. For many people the call is synonymous with a safari in the bushveld.

Leeubron Waterhole

Leeubron waterhole is to the west of Satara on the S39 Timbavati road. Leeubron is an Afrikaans word meaning Lion (Leeu) Source (Bron). It’s quite a flat open pan with generally good visibility from the road so if something comes down to drink you’ll have nice clear sightings.

 

 

 

 

 


Ellie Mudbath 2 2 960px WM
Spraying mud on his skin
Ellie Mudbath 3 3 960px WM
Getting good and dirty
Ellie Mudbath 4 4 960px WM
Stiring up mud
Ellie Mudbath 1 1 960px WM
Elephant Bull (Loxodonta Africana) This guy had the best time in the muddy water, kicking, spraying and soaking himself in mud.

Ellies Mudbath

Elephants spray mud on themselves to protect against stinging insects and also to cool down if it’s hot. The mud also serves as a sunscreen protecting the elephant’s skin against ultraviolet light. Elephants can also be seen rubbing themselves against rough surfaces like tree trunks. This dislodges the hardened mud and removes parasites that have become trapped in the hard muddy crust.

 


Dark and Pale Male Giraffes 2 960px WM
Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) Giraffe’s darken with age, especially the males.
Green Pigeon 3 960px WM
Green Pigeon (Treron calvus) Green Pigeons are fruit eaters and are often seen in Wild Fig trees
Cheetah Marking his Territory 1 960px WM
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Reaching burst speeds of 120kms per hour, the Cheetah is the fastest land mammal on earth
Saddle Billed Stork Male 4 960px WM
Male Saddle Billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) Although almost identical, males have a yellow wattle under the chin with a dark eye and females have no wattle but a yellow ring around the eye.

Satara Drive

Satara restcamp lies in the heart of Big Game country. The open bushveld with healthy and palatable grasses attracts large concentrations of grazing animals, like Buffalo, Wildebeest, Impala and Zebra. This in turn means an abundance of the bigger predators and with the relatively open and flat terrain sightings of Lion, Leopard and Hyena are common and there’s always a chance of spotting Cheetah. The area is also good for Elephant sightings. Keep your eyes open for the smaller but equally rewarding Honey Badger (Ratel) vultures and eagle species.

To the east on the H6 is Sweni Lookout Point and Hide…worth a visit if you’re nearby and a good place to stretch legs.

Stork Pond…..a small water hole filled with bird species

Stork Pond