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Kruger Jan 2014, a safari of wild dogs, ground hornbills and steenbok


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The baboon swinging on the tail shows their sense of humor. Great zebra shots. You just made it through the gate in time. What would be the penalty for being late?


No idea - I don't think that they'd leave you locked out, but you can imagine the atmosphere in the car :unsure:


Worse than any fine. Yikes!

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Day 5 Satara Evening drive


It rained all day and was still raining in the afternoon. We decided to stick to the tar roads again, but there was not much about.










There were a couple of bull elephants, but not near enough for decent shots in the poor light.

There were a crowd of vultures in a tree, so we assumed that there was a kill nearby, but it was far from the road and peering though the grass/bush with our bins did not reveal it..


oh well, that's the problem with a wet summer, I suppose

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Peter Connan

The wet zebras are magnificent!

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Day 6 Satara Morning drive


Still raining, but a bit brighter. Our first encounter was a hyaena clan, with 5 or 6 members, who were very active, strolling along the road back to their den, checking things out along the way.


























This was clearly a boring sighting as several cars pushed past and forced the hyaena into the grass, and therefore out of sight, grrrr, some people need to be a bit more considerate :(


The ubiquitous steenbok




Several birds




including this sorry looking kori bustard




We then got completely surrounded by a massive herd of buffalo - not even the most impatient drivers could pass :D










And they were accompanied by flocks of wattled starlings, who we had never seen before.






Back to camp for breakfast and to check out, as quite a long drive to Skukuza

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You got some great pictures in the rain and the aftermath!

I particularly like the zebra shots where you can see the rain falling around them - and the black and white duo is excellent

You have some really good pictures of the boring hyena - the second one (the portrait) is beautiful and the behaviour on the road is very enjoyable to see

I like the buffalo with plants tucked behind its ear!

I was clearly worth going out in that weather

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Thanks @@TonyQ, I thought the buffalo's earring was very fetching! Always worth going out, although post#27 the drive the night before, was particularly quiet. It was a shame as the game around satara is usually very good, which is why we added the extra night, but you can't account for the weather

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Day 6 Drive from Satara to Skukuza


We had hardly left Satara when there was a commotion at the side of the road. Lots of birds were swooping and circling. Termites were flying out and being picked off one at a time. The car sounded like it was raining, as the discarded wings fell on top of us. There was an absolute cacophony. Glossy starlings, European rollers, wattled starlings, bee-eaters and Amur falcons, all taking the easy pickings. A yellow billed kite also landed to see what the fuss was about. It was a fascinating experience and we sat watching in amazement for about half an hour. Most other people passed us by without a backwards glance...










It was really hard to take photos of individual birds, but after a lot of persistence - I got this!




Am attempting to upload my first video to YouTube, as this gives a much better idea of what was happening than stills - hopefully, I can add it a bit later....


Finally, they had all been consumed and it was as if nothing had happened. We needed to get a move on, as it was a long drive. It was getting hot, as it was the middle of the day. We found a herd of elephant who had just been bathing, right next to the road






Where we were excitedly told by a young couple that they had just seen a leopard, about 8km away. Ferrari safari, here we come. Luckily, the leopard had been kind enough to take a nap on the Paul Kruger memorial tablet rocks, so no complicated description of its location was required. It was quite far from the road, so I had to resort to the 500mm lens, despite the poor light and there were two pesky pieces of vegetetation in the way 1) a piece of grass which kept blowing across the foreground causing me to lose focus and 2) the bloody branch in front of the leopards face. No matter where we put the car, it couldn't be improved and once we got our prime spot, we were not moving, as soon there were several vehicles present.














After the stretch, it decided that it had had enough of being stared at and moved deeper under cover




Our first black stork




It was getting very humid and only a matter of time before the inevitable rain. A yellow billed kite making the most of an unfortunate tortoise, who ended up as road kill




A soggy cuckoo




By the time we got to Skukuza, the rain had stopped, but there wasn't much time for a rest before our afternoon drive

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So hopefully, here is the video of the termites being massacred...


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Day 6 Skukuza Evening Drive


So after unpacking quickly and a short rest, we were off again. Luckily it dried up. We decided to do a short loop as we were quite tired. We hadn't got very far when we found some hyaena in their day nursery! It was right next to the road, but the branches were difficult to see through.
















Again, most other people stopped only briefly or not at all. When another vehicle turned up and decided to stay when we told them what was behind the trees, I was pleased. A few seconds after they had manoevered themselves into position, a male impala dashed in front of us. I assumed that the car must have spooked it, how wrong was I?




I couldn't believe my eyes! The impala had crossed the road and gone down the opposite track, so I rapidly started the car in hot pursuit and performed the worlds quickest three point turn, only to find that the track was not in use :(


However, the luck really was with us. As the dog was alone and the impala had escaped - it came back! Here are the photos to prove it (some of which were through the windscreen)














Probably the single most exciting thing that has ever happened to us on safari! There had been a lot of wild dog sightings online before we left, so we were hopeful, but given that it was wet season and you are limited to the roads, hope was all we really had. We drove up and down that stretch, hoping to find the rest of the pack, but to no avail. However, they were in the area and this was good news.


We ended up only doing one side of our triangular loop, given the amount of time we had sat with the hyaena, but who cares? On the way back, we found another family of ground hornbills, who were very obliging in posing for photos.






















What an amazing day! No steenbok though :(


We had dinner in the newly refurbished Selati restaurant (the old train station). Both food and service were excellent - a good start to a camp which we had avoided in the past due to its size and we only chose as the Lower Sabie restaurant was closed.....fate, I guess

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Love the second dog photo, he's walking on air there. :)


Really enyoying your report, keep it coming.

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Love the second dog photo, he's walking on air there. :)


Really enyoying your report, keep it coming.


It might have been taken through the windscreen - pure luck!

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Great sightings - the huena and then the wild dog - very exciting

The hornbill photos are excellent (including a kill!)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Day 7 Skukuza Morning drive


Given the last nights events, we decided to do the "leopard triangle" arriving at where we had seen the dog a bit later on in the morning. It was very quiet. We saw some water birds on the low level bridges








We decided to drive back to camp to use the facilities and regroup. On the final road before turning into camp, we found these guys....


















Lucky for us, all of the other vehicles were behind them and we were the only one in front of them, allowing me to get some great shots. Not so good after they had passed though, as no one was going to wait for us to turn around....






No sooner had we turned around and caught these shots, they vanished into the long grass. An amazing few minutes and complete luck that our car was pointing in the right direction!


After a short bathroom break we were back on the road, completely elated that we had seen a pack, rather than just the one.






There wasn't much about, but we didn't care - we saw the dogs! And to think we weren't even going to go to Skukuza in the original plan....

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There wasn't much about, but we didn't care - we saw the dogs! And to think we weren't even going to go to Skukuza in the original plan....


Good thing you did! Great pictures.

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Day 7 Skukuza Afternoon Drive


We decided to do the same route, so that we would be roughly in the right place where the dogs were last seen as it was getting cooler and they may become active. It was pretty quiet (humans and game).






This was our first road block, a rock python, I believe.




The road was blocked further up by a large troupe of baboons.










Once we'd picked our way through the baboons, a south african guy told us that the dogs were ahead! We couldn't find them though :(


It appeared that we'd missed them by seconds, as a car behind us caught them (as they told us when they caught up, grrr)...the bush was so thick. However, whilst scouring the area to try and find them, we did see our first white rhino of the trip.


We passed the hyaena den again and the pups were more active, including the very small ones








So we couldn't complain too much!

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Somehow managed to miss this one until now.
Excellent photos and I like the frequency of hyaena in them! Shame the other tourists were so ignorant of them. :(
Lovely dog pics too. The shots of them walking down the tarmac roads look like classic Kruger sightings!

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We must have driven through something interesting as the older hyaena pups found us fascinating!!


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Somehow managed to miss this one until now.

Excellent photos and I like the frequency of hyaena in them! Shame the other tourists were so ignorant of them. :(

Lovely dog pics too. The shots of them walking down the tarmac roads look like classic Kruger sightings!


thanks @@Big_Dog I like a hyaena and Kruger seems to be a very good place to see them. We saw them on every day that we were there, often more than one sighting/drive. They are generally active (as compared to lion) and therefore make more interesting photos....

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Very cool snake pic. Seems to do some stretching exercise. :)

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@@Tdgraves - Couldn't agree more. maybe safari goers would have better opinions of them if they didn't just watch sleeping lions!
Nice den video too. :)

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Day 8 Skukuza Morning Drive


We decided to do the same route - why change? It had rained overnight and things we quiet - we saw our only duiker though




and a lone hyaena making their way home






It absolutely chucked it down and so we didn't see much, until some vehicles were stopped at the side of the road - the wild dog den














The adult who'd been left in charge clearly wanted a rest, but us pesky photographers kept disturbing it. Most other vehicles left when the rain started coming in the windows. We (and more importantly our cameras) were getting very wet, so we decided to move on.


A couple of kms down the road, there was a car stopped on the right - looking at these on the left..




Where their pale patches exactly match the grass, after a few minutes they activated and the rain came back.


















Then unfortunately an impatient driver pushed trough between the two parked cars at speed and scared them off down the road in the rain :(








We turned and followed them, but they soon went into the long grass on the right (in the opposite direction to the den). We carried on back to the den to see if they arrived, but nothing happened so we decided to move on.


It brightened up as quickly as it rained, but all we saw on an additional loop was this brown snake eagle drying off.




Back to camp to pack and move on. Stupidly left the motion-sensitive camera out from overnight when we left for our drive and returned to find that someone had helped themselves to it.....grrr. It left a bitter taste, as there was no passing pedestrian traffic, and most tourists hadn't even returned to camp when we did, but it was my own fault.

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Lots of great wild dog sightings and photos

I like hyena - and the babies are very cute!

Shame about your motion sensitive camera

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@@TonyQ thanks, more of both to come....


I have already replaced it, not via insurance though :(

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@@Tdgraves just catching up. Beautiful pics of the zebras, especially the duo facing each other. The hyena babies look so good n cute. Glad you had so many sightings of the dogs despite the rain.

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