Flew into JNB and Rented a SUV with full insurance.
Left side drive was no trouble to adjust to even though I was driving on left for the first time. Roads and highways are fairly well marked even though signs are a little bit different. Stayed in a hotel for the night at Sandton (considered safer part of town).
Drive to Malelane – Started at 4 in the morning. was a great drive. Couple of pit stops at gas stations on the way. All of them do take credit cards although I preferred to pay by cash.
Closer to Malelane there are delightful fruit vendors by the road side and picked up some fruits. Construction delay was only 15 minutes on N4. Entered Malelane gate at 9 A.M
Gates sell the official Kruger Map/Guidebook – 35 R
Camps stores (Park Shop) sells the Honeyguide version which is fantastic for maps and identification lists -60R
In effect, you end up buying both to get around, unless you have a map preprinted.
Day 1 – Malelane to Biyamiti
Routes – Malelane loop, S114, S25
Fantastic game on the first ride inside the park through Malelane loop. Impala, Kudu, Elephant, Zebra, Giraffe.
S114 and S25 – Extremely rich in game. With Impala, Elephant and Hippo in the river as you take the river loops, each of the river loops were very productive. Saw couple of young Bateleurs on a tree
Biyamiti Camp Review – Good facilities. Not all cottages have River view. Has a very good bird hide where you can sit in and watches the river action. We saw a couple of fish eagles and just as we were sitting there a very pregnant lioness came in for a drink and disappeared with in a minute.
Cottages itself could be better designed especially the shower. But overall good facility. Great cooking facilities. Well maintained and Clean.
The approach road itself is prime game area with a great river view point where you can get down. Since only reserved guest can drive on the approach road, very less traffic.
Night Safari – Civet right outside the camp, Elephant family going to the river, Shrub hares running in front of the safari van multiple times, An African wild cat and also a white tailed mongoose – SPECIAL SIGHTING.
Day 2 – Biyamiti – Crocodile Bridge – Lower Sabie – Satara
Routes – S25 to Crocodile Bridge, H 4-2 to Lower Sabie, S29 and then H10 to Tshokwane, H1-3 to Satara
S25 continues to be very productive, with great bird sightings and animals as well. Giraffes, hippos, impala, zebra, wildebeest and warthogs as we get closer to Crocodile bridge.
H4-2 to Lower Sabie – very active with the herbivores and a group of vervet monkeys etc, zebras elephants, vultures and the river views have great visibility to hippos and crocodiles and great bird sightings
LOWER SABIE – What a fantastic Mugg and Bean setting for a river view full of animals.
S29 – Waterbuck, elephant herd, Giraffes, Baboon family. Spectacular view of open plains from Nwagovilla view point. At this point Impala doesn’t count any more as a sighting.
H10 – Steenbok – a very special animal – and common duiker , crocodiles.
Tshokwane picnic spot has the most friendly 2 bushbucks and not so friendly troop of vervet monkeys.
H1-3 to Satara – Dominated the 2 spectacular waterholes at Nwatinungu, Kumana, Marheya. Very low chance that these waterholes are empty. If not the big animals, the bird viewing at the waterholes were fantastic
Ran into a huge herd of buffaloes (nearly 500).
Tough spot as we stopped for an elephant on the road, then there were about 3 more to the left with a baby, very close . Quite unexpectedly one more showed up right behind.
2 KM short of Satara big commotion as a lioness was spotted with 3 cubs a few minutes before. MISSED IT.
Satara Camp Review – Just as we checked In to Satara, big commotion as 2 Hyenas (quite large) were spotted at the Satara waterhole.
If you stand outside the reception area, 100s of bats exit from the camp reception rooftop. Also resident owl in the tree during day time.
Satara camp should be renamed Satara City Almost everything is available here.
Great view of the night sky, the milky way. Seriously YOU HAVENT SEEN THE NIGHT SKY UNTIL YOU SEE IT FROM THE AFRICAN WILD. Quite a sight.
Early morning got very interesting with a male lion roaring away in the early morning hours. Had many folks brandishing the flash light and rushing to the fence.
Day 3-4-5-6 to follow