13 October 2023

Holy Grail

24 July 2023 - Roodewal, KNP - Day 3

This was our last full day in the Park and we decided to drive south to Satara for a late breakfast and were all out of the gate just before sunrise. Our kids were ahead of us and found a pack of 4 Wild Dog on the move - we had radio's in our respective cars and most of our gang managed to get onto them moving quickly through the bush on a early morning hunting sortie. 

This image illuminated by car headlights

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)


Before the bird hide, two impressive Kudu bulls

Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)



We continued to the bird hide for coffee and then stopped again at the Timbavati Picnic Site. My wife suggested we head east on the S127 back to the tar road and I'm so glad she did. Driving slowly, I saw some movement in a big dead tree and whatever it was, it dropped quickly out of the tree and into the grass. My mind went into overdrive as it was too small for a Leopard and to large for a Genet. I knew exactly what it was, but as this cat has eluded me in the Kruger, I didnt want to shout out, until I actually got my eyes on it. We drove for a few heart stopping meters and I saw a pair of ears pop up in the long grass - SERVAL and not just one, a pair of them. It was just after 7am in the morning and they were really skittish and didnt stay still for long - but we managed to get decent views through the long grass as they made there way deeper into the bush. I have had many visits to the Park over decades and finally a dream was realised - so special!

Serval (Leptailurus serval)










We continued elated on the S127, stopping for a few Ele's

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)


And a large herd of Zebra

Burchell's Zebra (Equus q. burchelli)



On the road to Satara we had Southern Ground Hornbill

Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)



and good numbers of Kori Bustard

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori)






As well as another big herd of Zebra, some behaving like naughty school children

Burchell's Zebra (Equus q. burchelli)






We arrived at Satara and enjoyed some coffee with toasties on the deck. With some help, I managed to locate the resident Scops Owl, literally in the tree next to where we were having our breakfast

African Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis)







After breakfast, I had a walk around the Reception area finding Red-billed Buffalo Weaver

Red-billed Buffalo Weaver (Bubalornis niger)


and Red-billed Firefinch

Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala)


We then headed back to Roodewal on the tar road, finding a distant Cheetah against the light

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)


Once at camp, we chilled over a casual lunch and I managed to find Paradise Flycatcher 

Female African Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis)


Southern Black Tit feverishly feeding on some fruit

Southern Black Tit (Melaniparus niger)




and Yellow-breasted Apalis in the trees surrounding the braai area

Yellow-breasted Apalis (Apalis flavida)



Near our Chalet, the Dusky Fly's were still present

African Dusky Flycatcher (Muscicapa adusta)



and I had an Tawny Eagle overhead

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)


Late in the afternoon, we had a short drive, but this time heading north on the Timbavati Road toward Olifants. It was pretty quiet, other than a large herd of Ele's coming back from the river

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)


On the return to camp, we came across a large herd of Buffalo in the Mopane

African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)





Back at camp, we had a festive dinner along with the fines for silly things observed during the day - a fun way to end the day and trip with good friends







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