Cat House

Nancy Vandermey, Author
South Africa Trip October/November 2013 part 9

Back in our own vehicle, once again we tried the S100, still catfree. We found a tawny having a feast and a posing fish eagle and then headed to Olifants. Elephants were seen from the bridge and giraffe just after We then checked in at Olifants, getting our requested bungalow, #9. After handwashing some clothes we headed up the S44, finding turtles and crocodile Just past the S93 intersection we found a spur road to a lovely rock formation and I remarked "What a great spot to find a leopard in" - on cue we both saw He was a nervous young boy, quickly moving off KNP Video has 16 short clips, including this leopard, but you'll get ahead of the story if you watch it now!

It was getting late so we turned around and took S93, after just a short distance we saw She walked behind us and then 3 more females followed her We got back in time for a nice sunset It was very windy overnight, and we woke up on the 21st to a cool, overcast, sometimes misty day. We had heard of a hyena den 2.2 km below the bridge, but no one was home this morning. Coming back we turned down S91 and saw this That was a quick shot in case she disappeared, but I managed to zoom in and get a few more before she did She went into the bush near the H1-3 and we found many impala there so we waited an hour or so, but she never reappeared By the time we got back to Olifants it was raining, we decided to go shopping in Phalaborwa. We saw this chameleon on the way there and then on the way back a car jam pointed out a pile of wet lions in the bushes, 3 females 2 males and 5 cubs total We got back about 5:45 and watched hippo The 22nd dawned windy and cool but dry. We tried going south, still no hyenas. S89 gave us a pregnant steenbok and on the river, a saddlebill stork Coming in for a nap, 3 male lions cautiously crossed the powerline road and then disappeared We headed back out at 1 pm, going north. The S93/S44/S46/H1-5 were all quiet. After a stop at Letaba we took S62 to the Matambeni hide, which showed us mixed game across the river hippo white fronted bee eater and crocodile Further along the road we found elephant waterbuck at Makhadzi river and a pair of honey badger! (far off) Heading back to Olifants were some large elephant And then a car mentioned seeing spots in a ditch. It was close to gate closing, we told them we'd come in late with them As we repositioned to get a better view, suddenly he was on the other side of the road - darn culverts! A good rolling session, and then time to go KNP Video has 16 short clips, including this leopard, but you'll get ahead of the story if you watch it now

Yep, 3 different leopards in 3 days! Back at camp at 6:30 on the dot, we ate in the restaurant as it was too windy to braai anyways. I was surprised the menu was the same as at Lower Sabie. This bat was inside On the 23rd we were packed and ready to go at 4:30. A sunrise at the bridge and then we watched two ground hornbills kill the chick of some other bird, an owl maybe While the hyena den was still quiet, just a short ways down the road in another culvert we found two shy youngsters The kudu were less shy and we saw a fish eagle But it general it was steenbok day, we saw many between Olifants and Satara, and not much else. At Satara the power was out, good thing we didn't need gas. We saw 3 lion dots on the sightings board on the H6, which turned into 4 young males in one place and two lionesses further down the road We gave some cold water to an antipoaching patrol and tried the S100 again, still cat-free for us! A hippo posed at Nsemani and giraffe further on and then we came across sleepy wild dog near the Nwamatsatsa river. It was hot, so we decided to check on them later Checking in at Orpen for Tamboti, we got tent #36, we loved this place! An elephant herd came down the riverbed Back out at 3:30 pm, on the old waterhole turnoff we found a posing yellowbill hornbill and back on the H7, female nyala Arriving back at the wild dogs, at least 10 were now visible sleeping in various places. We joined 1 other car and waited At 5:17 they got active, and we got to see a greeting ceremony More and more dogs kept coming out of the brush, until there were over 30! There were many cars by now, everyone behaved except a jeep jockey from Viva Safaris, BOO to him - he talked too loud, kept restarting his engine and moving when it wasn't necessary, and tried to push his way to the front. Then a park bus came up and did push its way through the two lines of vehicles, followed by the Viva truck. We left in their wake, as it was getting late and we needed fuel, and to give someone else a chance at being in front, but the bus & truck had scared them off the road. KNP Video has 16 short clips, including these dogs

Note, at Orpen, the park gate is a few hundred meters from the camp, and the petrol station is OUTSIDE the gate! Luckily we had left enough time to get fuel and still make it back to Tamboti. The electric fence outside our tent had a short and made a loud clicking noise, we couldn't sleep but putting our oven mitt across the lines shut it up. We were up and out at 4:30 again, it was overcast with a little rain. We took the S36 to S126, some nice giraffe, and a rhino Along the H7 were some marabou stork Then back for a nap. Time for our last afternoon braai Out again at 1, the S106 had elephant at the old Rabelais dam, and some warthog piglets I wanted to give the S100 one more chance! The lighting was nice for some giraffe and baboon with reflection and many impala and a black stork and THEN, finally, on the way back, one single lioness A cat is a cat! Back at Tamboti, we saw only the second baby wildebeest of the trip And a herd of kudu decided to spend the night in front of our tent

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