Kruger Christmas 2: The Bird Is The Word

We’re having our Christmas braai (barbecue) in Satara rest-camp–my favourite place to spend the holiday. While Cape Town is a mad fiesta of tourist-packed partying, in this part of Africa they barely seem to know it’s Christmas. Just the way I like it.

Our circle of rondawels is beset by raiding Vervet Monkeys, and a scavenging Banded Mongoose. Satara is the best camp for animal visitors. We hope that the African Wild Cat will come around–pretending to be a domestic cat to attract food–and the lumbering Honey Badger patrolling for scraps.

2016knp-4701

The 90km drive from Skukuza to Satara was mostly about birds. New sightings for us, like the bird I thought was either some kind of chat, or a flycatcher, and turned out to be a Chat Flycatcher. Some rarities, like this Ground Hornbill–the largest hornbill in the world and, yes, they can fly.

2016knp-8630

We found a tree in which White-Backed Griffon Vultures shared the branches with a Steppe Eagle.

2016knp-8640

Crouched on the remains of a carcass, the largest vulture in Africa, the Lappet-Faced Vulture. It has the largest wing-span of any terrestrial African bird. It’s huge beak gives it the authority and power to take a first turn at tearing open the hides of the dead.

2016knp-8657

After yesterday’s extreme temperatures (The White Whale’s thermometer registered 50 degrees celsius), it was cool and overcast all day. Aparna spotted a Bateleur eagle (acrobat, or tumbler, from the French. Mountain Chicken in Afrikaans) drinking from rainwater collected in a rocky depression.

2016knp-8686

A cluster of cars suggested lions, but turned out to be–as far as we could tell–a young Martial Eagle trying to catch a little grazing Steenbok.

2016knp-8783

It’s a huge, powerful eagle, and a Steenbok is not out of the question. But this one was apparently too inexperienced. The Steenbok didn’t even feel the need to leave the area.

We saw a lot of giraffes. More than ever before. But no tremendously exciting animals until we were almost at Satara. We found this elephant with huge tusks eating a bush by the side of the road. When it took notice of us, and began approaching, we made ourselves scarce and headed on to camp.

2016knp-8807

 

Advertisements

Author: singemonkey

A South African interested in public health, travel, making music, and photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s