KNP 2017 — 11-23 September
I visited SA at the end of 2016 for a couple of months and spent most time in Cape Town and therefore decided it would be a good opportunity to visit KNP later the year to experience drier season and especially up north (This was a thus pre rain-season visit). KNP gets mostly summer rains with accompanying flooding rivers (rain starting around October-November) and with that the mosquito season. Summer increases the flying insect and birdlife so January-February is generally very good for birding. A two-week visit was all I could manage this time round.
During the previous visit I was impressed by the hide located on the Punda Maria campsite with viewing over a waterhole which has a constant inflow of fresh water. I took a lovely photograph of an elephant at the waterhole at a previous visit so I decided to stay there for 3 nights and explore the areas, but more so just chill out and watch the animals visiting the waterhole — and was I rewarded! There seemed to be a constant flow of activity around the waterhole. This happened day and night (campers along the fence reported leopard and lion visiting during the early hours — some amber lighting over the waterhole makes for good viewing at night). Probably the best encounter was when a herd of buffallo charged the waterhole and elephants just gave way. Kloppersfontein, which is a short distance from Punda Maria camp made for good secretary bird viewing including their nest location. It was good to see a pride of lions and the usual elephants. Gettin some excellent photographs of bee-eaters close to Pafuri where they were feeding on some insects was one of the highlights of the northern visit. Pafuri is famed for it’s bird-viewing. The dry season helped with locating predatory animals at or near to water, but I was amazed at the relatively large number of predatory birds I saw. I tried to take as many photographs as possible of birds during some feeding or other activity. I was rewarded with with some nice images of kingfishers (very difficult to capture them entering or exiting the water as it’s generally difficult to locate and time correctly). Lake Panic near Skukuza was very good for kingfishers.
I spent a total of 12 nights in Kruger (camp sequence: Orpen 1; Letaba 3; Punda Maria 3; Satara 3 and Skukuza 2) and followed the same routine in travelling into Kruger as before. I was somewhat disappointed when I expected to have a Qashqai but got a Focus sport instead which was not as well appointed for game viewing. One of the butchers I normally visit for some excellenst steak, boerewors and biltong had relocated so that led to some time wasted on the Orpen journey, but I arrived just in time before gate closure. Orpen is one of the gates where one is permitted to arrive after normal closure hours (the gate camp is a few minutes careful drive in the darkness from the entrance gate).
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