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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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