Kruger National Park - Timbivati Picnic Spot

Day 20 – Skukuza to Satara, Kruger National Park – 28 September

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After two nights in Skukuza it was time to move on to Satara, which is a fair drive away. We headed out about 9-ish and soon spotted two separate lots of lions, lounging about lazily, like only cats can do! As we progressed north it got increasingly dry with dry waterholes and not much to see around them. We stopped at Tsokwane picnic site, which once again is a lovely place to stop, but the river there is very dry.

It is a good place for a pit stop though, and we had our sandwiches and coffee before turning back to Orpen Dam, which at least had water. It is a great lookout spot and we saw a few hippos and crocodiles, as well as a number of birds. The lookout is nicely designed with lots of room for people wanting to sit down and stay for a while. We moved on however as we had a fair way to go – and our pace over the last couple of days has been slow going. Little did we know that our pace would increase rapidly as the amount of animals dwindled.

We did spot a couple of hyena which excited me massively! We visited the baobab tree and drove fairly slowly, but even so we were in Satara before check-in time at 2pm.
Fortunately they let me check in, and our bungalow, E114 was ready 10 minutes later and we could unload all our stuff and plan the rest of our day. According to our booking the bungalow had shared cooking facilities and I wasn’t looking forward to that, but when we got there it had a two plate hotplate and microwave and was kitted out even better than the bungalow in Skukuza! The layout of the rondavel was also better than in Skukuza, with a very nice bathroom and shower so we were chuffed.

We decided to do a little loop to Timbivati Picnic Spot – and it was VERY dry and parts almost devoid of life. Over the first few kilometres we saw some warthogs, ostriches, wildebeest and zebras, but after that it became almost eerily quiet. At Timbivati Picnic Spot there were a few elephant grazing, and a few giraffes in the bushes and that was pretty much it, so we didn’t hang about too long. We headed back to the tar road and as we turned onto it there was a load of cars standing about which of course always indicates something like lions or some other predator. Sure enough, it was another pair of mating lions! These two were a little less shy, though I still only managed to get about 4 pictures before it was all over! We didn’t stay around for a repeat performance – it is astonishing how quickly you get blasé about seeing lions – even mating ones!

We got back to camp quite early (3pm) and just relaxed and read our books for a while before lighting the braai for some dinner. Satara is laid out in circles so you can see everyone lighting their braais and have a chat to your neighbour if you feel like it. Brian was particularly impressed with the size of some of the fires people lit – even if they were only cooking for two! After we finished dinner and while having a last beer we were treated to a magnificent thunder and lightning display which lasted for quite a while. Sadly it didn’t amount to much in terms of rain but is was spectacular and one of those true South African events that you just have to experience!

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