Cat House

Nancy Vandermey, Author
South Africa Trip October/November 2013 part 7

At Satara we got bungalow #177, and headed out at 4 pm to try the S90/S100 loop. We found a large buffalo herd a young bateleur eagle and a shy hippo and met forumite MandyM, making plans to meet at the pub at Satara. This was to be one of only a handful of cat-free days our entire trip. On November 16th we were first in line, and tried the S100. While on our previous trip in 2007 the S100 had been good to us (in cat terms), this trip they remained elusive here for us, but we heard of everyone else's good sightings! Regardless, it's a pretty road, always with impala and waterbuck and other game. Next stop was the Nwanetsi picnic/view site where a dark giraffe was visible On the H6 we found a kudu family admired the euphorbia trees zebra and giraffe and got sunlight finally, on some white headed vultures Wildebeest posed near the end of the road And magpie shrikes on the H1-3 Going south to the Sweni river, we found saddlebill stork Then took S126 to find steenbok and leopard tortoise and at Ngumulu pan, rhino and zebra (there were also impala, giraffe, etc) Coming around a bend in the road we found A young male lion, looking for his family. We spent an hour with him, as he wandered around, calling softly KNP Video has 16 short clips, including this lion

At Welverdiend waterhole were very muddy buffalo After a break at Muzandzeni picnic area, we took the S36 to S39 and followed the Timbavati river. There was a congregation of a hundred vultures on what looked like a dead elephant A lilac breasted roller posed for us, and I always try to get a picture of them flying Heading back down to Nsemani Dam, we watched elephants play in the water as much other game watched nearby Planning to head in for a snack and to recharge batteries, we were stopped by a car jam at a tree full of vultures a carcass underneath and a male lion hiding in the shade behind Just down the road were two more buffalo carcasses, an adult female on one side, a baby on the other Two lionesses lay panting under a tree nearby, Asking other cars what had happened, we heard that a huge lion pride had killed 3 buffalo that morning. Being very close to Satara and right on the tar road, we knew this would be a busy sighting, so we parked in pole position at the baby buffalo (at 1:45 pm) and decided to wait there the rest of the afternoon. Two Germans agreed with our plan and took pole position at the adult buffalo just across the road. At 2:30 pm 6 lions came through but then crashed in the shade At 3:05 pm the two lionesses from the tree chased off a vulture and then crossed the road. One of them was super old, with barely any teeth left At 3:25 a family of ground hornbill walked through the area At 3:40 pm the really old lioness repositioned the baby buffalo and tried to eat After both lionesses had moved off a vulture snuck in for some meat at 4:15 Starting at 5:15 there was constant action, no more play by play notes. Needless to say there was a steady stream of cars all afternoon, but everyone was nice and we actually maintained a view of both carcasses The old lioness came back to our side and stood next to our car for several minutes A young adult male dragged the adult buffalo's carcass further from the road While a male cub and the old lioness worked on the baby buffalo Finally at 6:15 we checked out the male (still down the road) admired the moon & sun and saw yet another lioness. Altogether there were at least 15 lions in the area, probably more. KNP Video has 16 short clips, including these lions, but you'll get ahead of the story if you watch it now!

We met Mandy and the two Germans for drinks, and heard of Mandy's incredible cheetah sighting on the S100, lucky her! A spider crossed our path Outside our bungalow we met a couple from Atlanta, the first other American self-drivers we ran across. We again set up our trail camera, right on the porch as we heard of the honey badgers in camp. Sure enough we caught one on camera, as well as a thick tailed bushbaby At Satara many people get up early, there were 20 cars in line by 4:30. We went north a little ways just to let the pack break up. By the time we turned around and went to the S100 we had it to ourselves, and were rewarded with a porcupine crossing the road - still too early for pictures tho. We found plenty of waterbuck zebra, kudu, giraffe elephant, baboon, and a total of 7 ground hornbill a tawny eagle vervet monkeys foraging and lilac breasted roller We then went to yesterday's lion site, only bones left We did find a pile of lions near the dam Once again we returned before 9 to shower and pack. We had several hours before it was time for the Sweni wilderness trail so we went back to the S90/S100 route, with kudu and waterbuck and elephant and bateleur eagles

Part 1 - Planning and Kgalgadi: Twee Rivieren
Part 2 - Kgalgadi: Urikaruus and Kalahari Tented Camp
Part 3 - Kgalgadi: Nossob, Grootkolk, Mata Mata
Part 4 - Kgalgadi: Twee Rivieren and Black Footed Cat group
Part 5 - Kruger: Berg En Dal and Skukuza
Part 6 - Kruger: Nwatimwambu Walking Trail and Lower Sabie
Part 7 - Kruger: Satara
Part 8 - Kruger: Sweni Wilderness Trail
Part 9 - Kruger: Olifants
Part 10 - Kruger: Tamboti and Biyamiti
Part 11 - Notten's Bush Camp