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An early morning in the African Wilderness

Updated on October 19, 2013
Malachite Kingfisher
Malachite Kingfisher | Source
African Elephant near road
African Elephant near road | Source
Pied Barbet-Pretorius Kop
Pied Barbet-Pretorius Kop | Source
Shithave Dam with Buffalo, Waterbuck and birds in attendance
Shithave Dam with Buffalo, Waterbuck and birds in attendance | Source
Natal Francolin crossing road
Natal Francolin crossing road | Source
This is my road
This is my road | Source
Waterbuck at Shitave Dam
Waterbuck at Shitave Dam | Source
Pearl-spotted Owlet- Pretorius Kop restcamp, Kruger National Park
Pearl-spotted Owlet- Pretorius Kop restcamp, Kruger National Park | Source

Shithave Dam-Kruger National Park

The light wind is rippling the surface of the water. A lonely African Buffalo Bull makes his way down to the water’s edge to quench its morning thirst. A mother Waterbuck stands in heightened awareness over her newly born calf in the long summer grass next to the dam.

On the rocks across the dam a group of Water Thick-knee wait for the morning sun to heat up their roosting place while a Grey-headed Heron keeps a silent watch on the surroundings, hoping for a morning snack of a careless frog or minnow that approaches too close.

The resident Water-monitor swims across the dam in search of food and an African Fish Eagle patrols the sky. In fact the search for food is the order of the day as we pour some coffee into our mugs and munch on our homemade rusks. We are delighted as a Malachite Kingfisher flies into the reed beds right next to us, its blue, brown, white and red colors flashing in the early morning sunlight. The larger Pied Kingfisher hovers over the edge of the dam before diving into the water in a splash, bringing our morning bird count up to 15.

The Shithave Dam is located about 12 km. north of Pretorius Kop camp, This old southern camp is “a diamond in the rough” according to the latest “Go Kruger” magazine and a favorite for families with children due to its great swimming pool.We enjoy camping at this rest camp because out of school holidays it is quiet and peaceful. The swimming pool does make a great place to relax during the heat of the day. The bird life in this old camp with its established trees is always good. This morning we watched a colorfull Crested Barbet calling in a tree next to our camp site while a Golden Tailed Woodpecker was building a nest above our tent. On a previous visit we were lucky enough to spot a Pearl-spotted Owl near our campsite

.On our way to the dam we are surprised to see a small group of Rhino grazing right next to the road and one seems to not be too happy that we are sharing the road with him. There are two kinds of Rhino in Kruger,the White and Black Rhino and these appear to be White Rhino who are grazers. The Black Rhino eat shrubs and leafs.Both types of Rhino are endangered due to poaching for the Rhino horn that fetches huge amounts of money, especially from people in Asia.

Further along the S1 road towards the Skukuza camp is the Transport Dam that became famous due to the so called “Battle of Kruger” that was popular on U-Tube a few years ago. Some visitors filmed the attack and fight between some Lions and a herd of Buffalo, with a Crocodile joining the fray.

This morning no Lions enter the picture at Shithave and so the dam is a scene of peace and tranquility. We reluctantly start our vehicle and move slowly back to camp searching the roadside for the Leopard that someone saw there yesterday. A huge African Elephant crosses the road in front of us as we approach the camp, completing a pleasant start to another day in the African wilderness.


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    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thank you for your comment.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Wonderful photos of the wildlife of the African wilderness. Thank you for all the interesting information.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Have not been busy on blog recently but need to get back. Blog on lastlegjourneys

    • celeste inscribed profile image

      Celeste Wilson 4 years ago

      Really well written, I felt like I was right there. Do you write for a blog too perhaps Johan?

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Book your flight and we will guide you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Johan, believe me, I want to see all these wonderful things, and share them with you and Audrey. I have been thinking about Africa a LOT lately.

    • lcbenefield profile image

      lcbenefield 4 years ago from Georgia

      So beautiful. I really enjoyed the pictures. Your article makes me want to visit there.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Glad you enjoyed it.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Good and interesting article on Shithave Dam-Kruger National Park, I had a good read. Thanks for sharing the hub with good pics.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting thank you