We were sad to leave Bonamanzi, as it had the potential for at least a day or two more, but time was marching on and we still had a lot of ground to cover, so we set off for Wakkerstroom. This is a well-known birding spot on the Highveld and is best know for its Larks and Pipits. We checked into the well appointed Wetlands Lodge, which caters mainly for birders and were pleased with our accommodation in The Sheds, their self catering section.
Larks being as enigmatic as they are meant that we needed a guide, so we engaged the services of Michael for a morning and we certainly needed him! Our first foray took us in search of Yellow-breasted Pipits and we were pleased when we found one, after quite a long search. We also saw Blue Korhaan, as well as White-bellied Korhaan, and managed to see a group of Orange-breasted Waxbills. Then the fun set in when we started to search for the Botha’s and Rudd’s Larks. Persistence paid off and after much driving and wandering through grasslands we eventually found both, but we could not have done it on our own!
We also spent quite a bit of time at the very productive wetlands and saw Grey-crowned Cranes, African Rail, Hottentot Teal, African Snipe and many other species. It really was a good place to spend a day or two. We also had very heavy thunderstorms whilst there and had to cope with some muddy roads.
Our next stop was for four nights outside Kruger Park at the Sanbonani Lodge at Hazyview. This is a comfortable establishment with huge gardens and much river frontage and very many birds. It was also our gateway to the Kruger Park and we spent three days in the latter, seeing good raptors, etc. Of course, there were Painted Wolves and Lions too, but they were always lying sleeping and we found no benefit in watching this lack of activity! The Lake Panic bird-hide was, as usual, a good place to spend time and we also visited and walked around a few of the main camps, which can be very productive.
We had one minor glitch at Sanbonani when the hot water cylinder in our unit burst and flooded the place, necessitating a move to new quarters, but we survived. Also the Barn Owl, which always roosts in the entrance to the Reception was absent during our visit, which was sad.