Tag Archives: Satara camp

Some days are diamonds

Have you ever had one of those days when just about everything goes wrong?  I’m sure you have.  How about one when absolutely everything goes right?  We recently had a diamond day in Kruger National Park.  We visit parks often and this has to have been our best time ever anywhere.  Let me tell you about it.

Lion Pride KNP

We left our campsite at Satara, planning to make our way slowly to Lower Sabie.  We hadn’t driven far when we saw a pride of ten lions in the bush next to the road.

Lion Pride KNP

The left the grassy area and walked along the road in front of us for about two kilometers.

Lion Pride KNP

Apart from seeing so many lions at one time, we were delighted to watch the young cubs playing games with each other as their parents walked purposefully ahead.  There were about six cubs of various ages, three older lionesses and one male lion.  What a sight that was.  Our best ever close up sightings of so many of these beautiful animals.

Male Leopard KNP

Feeling like things couldn’t get much better than this, we continued driving towards Lower Sabie.  It wasn’t long before we came across a number of parked cars and realized that the folks were watching something special.  This time it was a magnificent male leopard walking beside the road.

Male Leopard KNP

I turned our car around so that Rob could take photos and the leopard obliged by walking next to us and then sitting down at the side of the road.

Male Leopard KNP

What a sight he was.  We were absolutely blown away by this incredible animal.

When the leopard eventually disappeared into the bush, we happily continued on our drive.  Our next bonus was another sighting of lions, a male and female.  Once again we were in the perfect position for photos and we made the most of our special time with them.

Lioness KNP Lion  KNP

At the Mafagalamba Dam, close to the Tshokwane picnic area, we spotted a mother cheetah with three cubs.  She left her cubs briefly to drink at the dam.

Cheetah mother  KNP

Whilst there she spotted an impala and immediately gave chase.  We held our breath thinking that we would see a kill, but the impala managed to escape and the cheetah made her way back to her cubs.

Cheetah cubs  KNP

With that, a lioness appeared and saw an opportunity to have a cheetah cub for a meal.  The cheetah hastily departed with her three cubs.  Here was another chance for us to watch a chase!

Lioness KNP

There was a flurry of activity in a bush as the lioness caught up with them.  Unfortunately by then it was too far away for us to see what happened – we can only hope that the cubs escaped safely and that the mother took on the lioness.  We will never know the outcome, but our day was getting better and better!

By this time it was almost sundown and we were making our way back to our campsite, when we came across a smallish bird sitting in the road.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a Harlequin Quail – a lifer for us.

Harlequin Quail  KNP

I was concerned that it would be run over by a passing car, so I opened my window and flapped a towel near it.  The quail flew off into the safety of the bush.  Our day was over and it will be etched into our memories as the most amazing one ever in any game reserve.  We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been witness to the best that the bush could offer in a single day.

Meet Stoffel Two – Honey Badger in KNP

We have recently returned from our annual visit to South Africa’s flagship game reserve, the Kruger National Park.  What an incredible experience awaits those who visit the park for the first time – and an equally wonderful time for those of us who go back year after year.  This year proved to be even more outstanding than usual (for January), mainly because of the drought, as the animals were much more visible without the typical long grass of summer.  Unfortunately the downside was that the animals were very hot, thirsty and, in many instances, hungry. There were some heartbreaking sights, but I will blog about those another time.  Today belongs to Stoffel Two – our nickname for a honey badger (Mellivora capensis) that caused quite a stir in our camp at Satara.

Honey badger on the prowl

As you can see from the photo of our chalet, the kitchen is situated on the outside of the building, with the fridge enclosed in a metal cage (to keep out thieving monkeys and honey badgers!)

Our chalet at Satara

We had the foresight to lock our fridge gate with a padlock – something that our neighbour omitted to do.  Stoffel Two arrived one hot lunch time and proceeded to tackle the unlocked gate.  He deftly pulled back the dead bolt, opened the gate and then opened the fridge with absolute ease.

What's on the menu

Unfortunately he had rather lean pickings as the meals for our group were mostly catered for, which meant that there was very little in the way of tasty food to sink his teeth into.  It didn’t stop him examining every nook and cranny of the fridge in search of something edible.

There must be something here

Honey badgers are quite dangerous when confronted, as we saw when one of our group tried to chase Stoffel Two away.  He was cornered on the verandah, and feeling threatened, he immediately bared his teeth and growled ferociously, making her quickly pull back out of harm’s way.

Leave me alone!!

Once he had checked out the entire contents of the fridge, the honey badger made his way past all the photographers in search of the next easy target in the camp.

Stretching into the fridge

Do yourself a favour and watch this short video.

You will be amazed and amused by his Houdini-like ability to escape from his enclosure. For more information on these fascinating and incredibly intelligent animals, read our blog about them written after our trip to the Central Kalahari.