Kruger After the Floods 2012 – the S100, N’wanetsi Picnic Site and the H6

I’m very impressed with Satara camping facilities. The bathrooms are newly tiled and everything is clean. They have mosquito netting on all windows and doors to keep out the bugs. And the kitchen area is much smarter than normal. I love seeing places that are well-looked after in the Kruger.

Woke up very early on Friday morning and headed on a morning drive along the S100. This road is magic; and even more so in the morning light. The river along the S100 (the N’wanetzi river) is not huge but the pools are bigger and the road is definitely looking greener than three weeks ago. There are also some random pools along the way so the animals don’t even have to go down to the river to drink.

I came across two hyena and a lot of vultures on an elephant carcass. I had heard from the reception that the rangers had found it a few days earlier so I was glad to see it was still there. I need to find out the story behind it as I’m sure it wasn’t killed by lions.

 

I had to go see Gudzani dam as when we were there on the 7th January, it had been rather dry with a small pool right at the back right and some small streams. The hippos couldn’t get very deep into the water at all and were just lying around. Well it is now a different story altogether. It is full as far as the eye can see in both directions and the hippos are looking happy spread out and swimming around.

The S41 down to N’wanetzi picnic site has water in all the dips so all those streams are full and flowing, which is awesome.

 

The river below N’wanetzi picnic site was completely dry (and had been since last April) when we saw it three weeks ago, which was very sad but it now has a lot of water. The guy who looks after the site said he hasn’t seen a lot of game there, just smaller animals and the occasional elephant. But it is definitely an improvement.

 

I headed back to Satara along the H6. Sonop dam is full of water. The whole section has stunning yellow flowers in the green green grass so is looking fantastic. Came across two male lions – one in perfect photo lighting and the other sleeping in a bush. It’s always good to see some cats.

 

As I headed back on the H1-3 to Satara, there was an ele, giving himself a good mudbath. He had a lot of admirers and photographers going after the perfect pic.

Back at camp, I got in touch with the Sectional Ranger, Phindile, another friendly staff member at Kruger. She missed the rains at Satara as she’d taken her son to school in Skukuza last Wednesday, and was then stuck outside the park when she tried to make her way back as Orpen gate had to be closed for a couple of days. Satara wasn’t affected by the floods much at all as there are no major rivers on their doorstep. However, the picnic sites in the area were affected. The caretaker who lives at Timbavati picnic site, had to be rescued as his house was surrounded by water and the caretaker of Muzandseni had to be air-lifted out by helicopter as all roads around him were cut off. Satara is getting their electricity from a generator at the moment as their main supply was cut off when the power lines at Balule were washed away.

I’m hoping to speak to a ranger at Orpen later this week when I head out that way, and get more information on the flood-effects there and at Maroela and Tamboti, which are both still closed.

On Friday, I headed to the Olifants area, so will let you know how that went in the next post.

Some more pics from around Satara:

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