June 4 – Skukuza

Bright and early this morning I was on my way to Lake Panic. I wasn’t sure exactly where it was, but the lady in the shop said to turn right at the stop – so I did. I noticed only a couple of other cars turned right, so I was hopeful that they were also heading for Lake Panic. They were and I followed them there. I was the 3rd car in the lot.

I picked a bench and sat down to take some photos of the early morning mist and the various birds around. The beautiful Goliath Heron managed to make it into quite a few shots. 🙂 I wonder if it is the same Goliath Heron that was there 5 years ago when Penny & Jurek took me there.

The Watch-bird (Helmeted Guineafowl) was up in a tree keeping watch over things.

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A Pied Kingfisher caught a little fish for himself gobbled it up.

I believe that the next bird is an African Pied Wagtail. He was certainly wagging his tail up and down anyway.

Several Water Thick-knees gathered on the bank near the Heron and Guineafowl.

An African Jacana played hide ‘n seed with me for awhile, but I managed a couple of decent pictures of him.

I think (but could easily be wrong) that this is a Green-backed Heron. The combination of the sun and shadows makes it difficult to see the true colours.

When I first arrived at the hide I had quite a few choices of where to sit, so I picked a bench and sat near one of the ends. More people were coming in and a couple of ladies sat on the same bench near the other end. I was just setting up for a photo when a man taps me on the shoulder and asks me to move over so he can sit. I looked down and since I was about 4 inches from the end, I moved over a bit for him. He was with the other 2 ladies and I am sure they could have moved a bit, but I am thinking that they come often and this was the bench they usually had and were not used to sharing it. There were actually other benches that had space also.

And here comes the sun.

Once the sun rose, everyone got up and left, except for me. Now, I had the whole hide to myself so I moved over to the corner bench, which had been taken when I arrived. I stayed another 45 minutes or so and was alone the whole time.

I now know where to find Lake Panic, the next one on my list was the golf course, since I am meeting friends there for lunch in a few days. The lady at the shop told me it was just past Lake Panic, so I headed back to the main road and continued. After a few kilometres, I began to wonder if it was on the same road as Lake Panic, since that road did continue. I decided to save that trip for later though and continued on to my next destination, which was the airport. I was still somewhat sleep deprived when I arrived last month and picked up the car, so was not sure where it was.

On the drive, I found Baboons. I did not notice this until I looked at the pictures, but the last one seems to be injured.

Then – Impalas,

and an Elephant.

I also saw some Crested Francolins that did not all run and hide from me. Two of them even posed for a 2nd picture.

Then some Vervet Monkeys and a Bushbuck – first Bushbuck I’ve seen outside of a camp or picnic area.

I wisely decided that reading the road signs might be a good way to find the airport and since I had been told it was the opposite direction from Skukuza as Lake Panic and the golf course, so I went back to the intersection in front of Skukuza and stopped to read the signs. I followed the directions, making turns where required and found the airport road. So, now I know how to get back there when I have to leave in a few days.

I was almost back in camp when I got to a road block of cars, apparently due to 3 Leopards sleeping on the ground under a huge tree that was very close to the road, but behind tall enough grass that only the higher vehicles could see them. It took awhile to weave through the roadblock to take a look at the tall grass that they were behind. A couple of guys ahead of me in the lineup told me later that they had also missed a lion sighting not long before this one. I guess I must have missed it more than they did, since I didn’t even know I missed it.

I returned to my bungalow and headed to the Cattle Baron take away to get myself a breakfast wrap. It was quite good. 🙂

Then I decided to try a late morning/early afternoon visit to Lake Panic and to check out the golf course. No problem finding it and it is very beautiful. I took a few pictures. There were some Hippos on the bank across from the restaurant.

Then I stopped in at Lake Panic again, to see a Crocodile had climbed out of the water and into the sun to relax. He is wearing a tracking device of some kind and an African Jacana stopped moving long enough for one decent picture.

The Hippos were more active than they were this morning.

The Goliath Heron was looking great in the sunshine.

Some Terrapins and an African Darter have dropped by to visit. 🙂

A little red Dragonfly landed on some branches in the water, so I took a couple of pictures of him.

Then, back to the bungalow again.

After supper, I took another walk along the river on the walkway. I found a bird bathing – I think it is a Blacksmith Lapwing, but he looks different when all fluffed up and wet. I got a picture of a different Blacksmith Lapwing though.

I also got more lizard pictures. Striped Skink with a blue tail and without a blue tail. I still have no idea if they are they same (but different) or different kinds all together. I also found another lizard this time and have no idea what he is.

I found a couple of different butterflies, but one was really difficult to focus on. They were both quite small, but the smaller orange one made better focused pictures.

I walked around to the other side of the Fighting Kudus statue and took a picture from a different angle.

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Click here to start at the beginning of this fabulous vacation!

2 thoughts on “June 4 – Skukuza

  1. I am sitting here in Wales Mavis just reading your fabulous post. I cannot believe the experience you are having. I love the thought of all these animals and birds out in the wild. The way they should be.

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