Friday, March 30

Flying away......

Autumn grasses

It's that time of the year when summer visibly, audibly, departs on the wings of our birds.

European roller

This is when the European rollers and Red backed shrikes are most visible, perch hunting from road side bushes, fattening up before their long migration back to Europe and Asia.

Red backed shrike

Southern carmine bee-eater

The Southern carmine bee-eaters, so often sighted swooping through the air, just a week ago, have almost totally disappeared. The same with the European bee-eater.

European bee-eaters

Barn swallow

Barn swallows are amassing on telephone wires and dead trees preparing for the long flight back to the United Kingdom.

Woodland kingfisher

And one of the most lovely summer sounds, the call of the Woodland kingfisher, is becoming an echoing

Wahlberg Eagle

Many of our summer-visiting raptors have already departed, but we have still been rewarded with the occasional sighting of the Wahlberg Eagle.

Farewell beautiful birds.........

See you next summer.

Friday, March 16

A Sultry Summer Safari

Fever Tree Acacia overhanging a waterhole
Late summer in the bush is invariably variable. The landscapes are rich hues of gold and green, accented with blue shadows. Mornings are just cool enough to get a shiver on the open game viewing vehicle, but by breakfast time the sun is baking and the animals are either in the river beds or deep in the shadowy thickets.

The beauty of the landscapes and summer bird life is balanced by the challenge of finding the four-legged animals in the thick grass and dense bush. Kruger is truly a wilderness, therefore animals do not pose on the roadside or at the waterholes for us!

However, the hours of patience on long game drives are always rewarded and some of the amazing sights and encounters of this last week I've described below.

Yet another one of the elephant we saw


On two different occasions, VERY close bull elephants, adrenalin inducing to say the least! 
I've no photos of those two magnificent males, but my guests got every detail of their eye lashes.....

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

We saw bee-eaters everywhere, especially along the Sabie River – Little, Southern Carmine, European and the local resident, the White Fronted. Their graceful, colourful, swooping flight distracted the eye at every turn.

Saddle-billed Stork

Another really good sighting was of a pair of the critically endangered Saddle-billed Stork.


There IS a leopard in this tree!

My guests had the clear view, I had the bushes

As for the cats, we didn't see as many as we hoped, but still had two sightings of leopard (one hard to see, and the second pouncing on birds in the road in front of us), a great view of a cheetah, and distant lionesses......

The HUGE highlight of the week for me was the 15 minutes we spent in the company of a white rhino mother and calf. They were 15 metres away in the long grass when we first saw them, but as we waited, they gradually grazed their way towards us until we had the youngster doing his little playful bounces only 2 metres from the vehicle. Mum seemed totally unconcerned and also ended up really close.

Rhino calf

and with its mother

 Letting the vehicle free wheel away, we moved slowly off down the road and then they crossed over behind us and disappeared into the bush – how fortunate we had been!

Plains Zebra

We had many, many other great sightings but I will leave you with these for the moment.

It may be a another couple of weeks before I post again, as I will be back in Kruger from Monday, so until then keep saving hard for that next safari with me!

Summer storm over Kruger