Jump to content


Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

What a beautiful roller photo!


That is indeed a conundrum. I believe that I somehow see more through the viewfinder than when just looking, but sometimes, somehow, indeed experience less... And yes, I know I am mad.

We all are, Peter, we all are ?!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 02/12/2017 at 3:06 PM, PeterHG said:

Two finesses were resting in the shade underneath some bushes.


So there were fine lionesses then ;)! But for sure there are all fine photos above; Drongo calls to me, and leopard, of course, you are one lucky guy, @PeterHG.


On your other topic, I am lucky to have the best of both worlds ... while there I can enjoy the nature through my eyes (and binoculars) and when back home, I can enjoy watching the same through viewfinder when browsing Zvezda's photos :D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, xelas said:


So there were fine lionesses then..

I am lucky to have the best of both worlds ...



Ah the automated spelling corrector..:D Yes,you are one lucky guy! In many respects I'm sure....

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Satara is a big camp with over 150 bungalows, laid out in six big circles. We stayed in the F-circle, where bungalows have no cooking facilities, except for the braai, and no utensils whatsoever. We bought some plastic knives and forks and cups in the shop, so no problem there, except for the lack of tea or coffee in the morning. Twice we had dinner in the restaurant. It turned out all the bars and restaurants in the main area near the reception were closed and the only option was the so-called ‘Rustic Kitchen’ near the entrance. Their menu was limited: only two choices for an evening meal and one of these: “Sorry sir, we don’t have that tonight” on both occasions. Still, the food was not bad and the service friendly. 

We decided to drive to Olifants today. We’d been there 5 years ago and we remembered the view from the terrace was great. A good place to have lunch. We set out along the S100, one of the nicer dirt roads near Satara and made a detour to spend some time in the Sweni bird hide. On our way we noticed two African Hawk Eagles in dead tree. Impressive birds.



Near the hide a few White-billed Storks were feeding, unfazed by the crocodiles close by.






A Glossy Ibis made a brief visit.




We left the hide and took the S41 north. We spotted a white-headed Vulture, which we had not seen before on this trip.




A stop near some water produced a Woolly-necked Stork catching frogs and a Hamerkop.






Suddenly I noticed a small bird at the side of the road and we quickly stopped. A Harlequin Quail showed quite well and even stayed long enough for some photos. A lifer for me! 




The Olifants river held less water than on our last visit, but enough to attract Kingfishers and Waterbuck. And lots of Elephants








There was also a European Bee-eater. We saw many of them on our trip, more than any other Bee-eater.




And, of course, the Swifts posed a challenge I could not resist. Little Swift, this time.




The upper terrace at Olifants was closed, as was the restaurant. One level lower (still great views) was another Rustic Kitchen place… We spent a pleasant hour there in the company of Red-winged Starlings, who took the place of the Cape Starlings here in their eagerness to raid abandoned lunch tables. Triggered by the sightings board we made a detour north in search for Wild Dogs, but no luck. Back to Satara on the H1-4 and take a little rest before our late afternoon drive.

As it was November now, so closing time of the gate was supposed to change from 18:00 to 18:30. We wanted to make absolutely clear this was correct (we had make a little error with this at crocodile bridge….)There was a queue at the reception, so I decided to ask in the shop. “No, sir, it’s still six o’ clock”. To double-check I asked a ranger, who was gathering his passengers for a game drive.”Five-thirty, the gate closes. Yes, I’m sure”. In spite of his outfit we had our doubts. We asked another ranger who said he did not know exactly, but kindly offered to accompany us to the reception to ask. He jumped the queue and confirmed the closing time was indeed 18:30. You should always go on asking questions,uintil you get the answer you want...;)!  We took the S100 again. Not too much to be seen, except for a splendid Brown Snake Eagle, but we enjoyed it very much.




We spent another half hour at the Sweni hide and then returned to Satara on the H6. The advantage of the extra half hour we had is, that when you drive back, the light is already fading, the sun is setting and the evening calm descends upon the park. A special feeling. A few kilometres before the H6 joins the H1-3 back to Satara, the road rises and we noticed a giraffe walking towards us on the hill. In the setting sun this made for a beautiful image.



After this, of course, we had to hurry back……


Edited by PeterHG
Link to comment
Share on other sites


What a splendid trip report-and I-admittedly as a rubbish photographer-and Jane totally agree about the photo/just watching conundrum.Its great to try to get good shots, but it is also magical just to watch, and take it all in @PeterHG 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A stunningly beautiful photo with fantastic use of negative space! Golden hour at its best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stunning sunset!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you @Peter Connan. These are the magical African moments that we keep coming back for...


Meanwhile @Galana has kindly pointed out that my he thought my Pearl-spotted Owlet was in fact an African Barred Owlet. And he is right, as is usually the case. I'd never even considered that option. It exchanges one lifer for another and leaves me with the burden to return to South Africa to add the Pearl-spotted to my list...;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


 Our last full day in the park. We decided to drive down the S126 and that turned out to be a good decision. Together with the S100 this was our favourite road from Satara. Already in the first few kilometres we came upon a large herd of buffalo, near the Sweni waterhole. We spent some time admiring these impressive animals and watching them cross the road slowly but steadily.








As was often the case they were hosting a number of Oxpeckers, but this time it was the Yellow-billed Oxpecker. They seem to be less common than the red-billed ones and this was the only time we saw them.




We encountered some big male elephants again and kept our distance while they made their way to the group of females and calves.




A Burchell’s Coucal showed briefly and what a beautiful bird it is!




Things were rather quiet at the next waterhole except for a few Impala’s that were testing each other’s strength. They kept at it for almost 10 minutes.




My brother drove on until I suddenly spotted something in one of the trees some 20 metres form the road. I called out to him to stop and go back. And there it was, the tail hanging down from a big branch: a leopard. It was so rewarding to have spotted it ourselves and spend the first 15 minutes there without any other cars. Our second leopard, how luck can you get?

Of course we waved down the car that drove past us and pointed them to our find. The four of us waited till finally the leopard decided to climb down. When we later the couple again at the picnic site they said they had been trying to find a leopard for a whole week and had not succeeded until this moment. Good to share our elation with them.




The picnic site itself was home to a Scops Owl, which I probably would never have found on my own. The 'braai attendant' showed it to us and even then I had to look carefully as its camouflage is so perfect.





We decided to drive back along the same S126 and again it did not disappoint. First a Lilac-breasted Roller decided to pose for us





And after that we were greeted by a family of Double-banded Sandgrouse. Another lifer for me.







A Wahlberg’s Eagle was being chased harassed by a Fork-tailed Drongo. Much lighter that the Wahlberg’s Eagles we’d seen before, so obviously the pale morph. 






We concluded the day with yet another gathering of Elephants, before heading back to Satara.



Edited by PeterHG
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@PeterHG really enjoying the continuation of the report.  I agree that it is very rewarding to put the camera down on occasions. I am finding that easier now I've been on a few safaris and hopefully am switching to obtainig fewer images with better quality. I no longer try to get images in poor conditions in the 'hope they will turn out ok' and also take time to enjoy the moment if we are lucky enough to have some time at a sighting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another great drive! The Scops is a personal favourite, but one I have yet to see outside of a bird park. It's just one of those sounds I associate with being in the bush.


But that courser chick has it beat for cuteness!


Not even going to mention a near-perfect Leopard sighting...

Edited by Peter Connan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another "day at the office" turned out to be another winner. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spotting (no puns) your 'own' leopard or any animal does bring its own pleasures. Well done.

Love the Sandgrouse chick too and any owl has to be a winner.  .

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The perfect sighting is to see something special, watch it on your own for  say 5-10 minutes, and then see another vehicle to proudly show off your sighting too !  i have never said,

"Good afternoon, may i introduce you to our leopard, not at all, glad to be of service"   but we often think it afterwardsl  great tail spot @PeterHG

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Time to go back home, unfortunately. As our flight did not depart before 11 pm we could take our time and still enjoy as much of the Kruger park as we felt like. In view of this we decided not to exit through the Open Gate, which would have been the most logical option from Satara, but drive all the way down to the Kruger gate. This gave us the excuse to do our favourite S126 road again. After only a few kilometres we saw two cars parked at the side of the road. It turned out they had spotted a Cheetah, lying in the shade of a tree, at quite a distance. Hardly visible against the sun and in the tall grass, but after some intensive searching we found it. Not the best view, obviously, but a Cheetah on our last day was a nice surprise.




We waited for some time, hoping it would get up, but in vain. But there were other interesting things to be seen there, like the majestic Saddle-billed Stork that came flying by.




The S126 was an elephant-rich drive the three times we had driven it before and also this time it did not disappoint.




The drive south did not produce any new sightings, but was nice enough. We said goodbye to the Zebras




And to the Giraffe and Oxpecker.





And the Steenbok, always single and wary.




Near Skukuza we crossed the Sabie river again where a single Marabou Stork stood on a sand bank. The only one we saw on the trip.




At the other side of the bridge a familiar wader was searching for food: the common Greenshank.




We decided we had time enough to visit the Lake Panic bird hide and soon found the turn-off and  the parking lot. We were not the only ones there. Apparently this is a popular hide and for the first ten minutes we could not even find a place to sit down. The reasons for its popularity were soon obvious. The hide is L-shaped and overlooks a dam. The south leg of the L overlooks the short end of the dam and there are plenty of reedbeds and water plants. The view to the east is of the wider part of the dam and there are tree stumps in the water, serving as a perch for Kingfishers and Herons. Like this Striated Heron




We managed to find a spot near the corner, so we could reasonably see both sides. A Squacco Heron was feeding quite near the hide.




A Fish Eagle landed in one of the trees on the opposite bank. As this was early afternoon the light was not ideal for photography, but I still needed a Fish Eagle shot.




A beautiful Jacana was feeding on the waterlily leaves, showing its incredibly long toes.




We had already seen the Water Thick-knee on the opposite bank, but suddenly it was joined by a chick and later even by two.






When a hippo yawns it’s the right moment to take a shot. Impressive jaws!




The Lesser masked Weavers were busy gathering nest material.






In spite of the crowd the hide had been well-worth visiting, but our time was up. We exited the park through the Paul Kruger gate and started the long drive to the airport. We stopped again at Milly’s, as we had done a week before and had a meal on the terrace overlooking the dam, in the company of Lesser Striped Swallows and Pied Starlings. We made everything in good time and had an uneventful flight back to Amsterdam.







Only a week, but what a week it had been! We’d had a great time together, enjoying our many game drives together, the shared photography interest and the long talks about all the things that mattered in our lives, both in the present as in the past.


We managed to see 135 species of birds, of which 3 were lifers for me and some 20 mammals. I brought home too many photos, as always, and a firm conviction to do this again. Thanks for taking the time to travel with me on this little trip!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for dragging us along, it was a wonderful ride!


Wonderful photos throughout!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely short trip and lovely trip report, @PeterHG! So a "quickie" over two weekends is feasible, after all. That is one good news for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, @Peter Connan and @xelas  ! Yes a short trip like that is certainly feasible and, in fact, it felt like  we’d been away much longer. We did make good use of the time we had, by getting up early and do pretty extensive game drives. But even so, we had ample time to relax and enjoy lunch at one of the restcamps during the hotter hours of the day. Short, yes, but that’s all the time we had and I haven’t regretted it for one second. Of course, one needs a brother like mine :).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report Peter, very enjoyable. I agree that one week is entirely doable (for us Europeans anyway), we did it two years ago in Kenya.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, PeterHG said:

Of course, one needs a brother like mine :).


In case that the brother is not available, would a distant cousin from East be of any help :rolleyes:??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great idea - and it seems the "short" trip works very well. Beautiful photos throughout - I really love the Steenbok. Your trip to the hide looks to have been very productive. Thank you for posting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thoroughly enjoyed every single photo... excellent TR. Thank you for sharing your visit with great enthusiasm.  

The wonderful relationship with your brother shines through and gives a special feeling to your TR. 


You were blessed indeed.  :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy