27 January 2024

Morning loop Drive from Ngwenya to Skukuza

30 August 2023 - Ngwenya and Kruger National Park; Day 6

We were up earlier and in the Croc Bridge Gate queue by 5:45 and through the gate by 6:05 which was great. We always have a family debate as to which roads are the most productive - tar or sand. I prefer the sand, as it feels less commercial, but I was outvoted this morning and we opted to do a day on the tar. Halfway up the H4-2, we had a few Safari vehicles pass us, so we followed them. They took an unmarked turnoff and there was already a traffic jam at the sighting, which was a Leopard (different to yesterday's Leopard), but very high up in a large tree. This sighting vindicated my wife's justification for staying on the tar - but as it turned out, we didnt see much else for the rest of the morning

Lepoard (Panthera pardus)

There were a good number of Spotted Hyena's running around under the tree

Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Then we had the mission of trying to maneuver out of the traffic chaos. We continued to Lower Sabie, but did a drive over the bridge before the camp where a Croc slowly glided past a solitary Little Egret

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

At Lower Sabie there was a bit of activity at the bird bath before the shop - first Black-collared Barbet

Black-collared Barbet (Lybius torquatus)

and then a White-browed Robin-Chat

White-browed Robin-Chat (Cossypha heuglini)

The Bats were still in the eaves near the restaurant

Wahlberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi)

We checked out the view from the M&B deck, seeing another Nile Croc

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

A big flock of Openbill's

African Openbill (Anastomus lamelligerus)

After our coffee and muffin, I walked down the boardwalk finding a young Sombre Greenbul feeding on berries in an adjacent bush. It's not often they sit out in the open like this, perhaps immaturity....

Sombre Greenbul (Andropadus importunus)

We then continued on the tar to Skukuza where there was still a lot of damage to the road from the floods earlier this year. From Skukuza back down to Malelane and then the loop back to Croc Bridge on the S25, not seeing any Rhino but I did get a Wahlberg's Eagle

Wahlberg's Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

and later a soaring Tawny Eagle

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)

Overall another disappointing game drive and we all agreed that for this trip the KNP should change it's name to the Elephant and Impala Park, as we saw so many of both.

We had a chilled afternoon on our deck back at Ngwenya watching Goliath Heron standing motionless for hours in the rapids

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath)

A Black-headed Oriole serenading us in the Fever Tree

Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus)

One of the Skink's youngsters on the balcony railing

Skink sp.

and another magnificent sunset and birds returning to their overnight roosts

Returning to roost

Skaal/Cheers and I finished on 99 species for Ngwenya today


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