Just as the sun was rising I found myself making coffee and at the same time packing a picnic basket for breakfast at Nsumu Pan. One of my best moments is sitting in a game reserve, drinking coffee dunking a rusk while listening to the cacophony of birds celebrating the beginning of a new day.
It’s amazing how much a person sees just sitting quietly. In just a few minutes I saw a pair of Yellowbellied greenbuls, a Whitethroated Robin-chat, starling, a raptor fly-over and a small family of Nyala.
We planned to get to Nsumu Pan in time for breakfast but to stop over at the kuMasinga Hide on the way. The hide is situated in the unique Sand Forest so just the drive to there is interesting and it’s worth driving slowly. We kept a lookout for the beautiful Gorgeous Bushshrike and Eastern Nicator. They were so vocal but no luck in seeing them. However, the tiny elusive Suni made an appearance much to our delight.
kuMasinga Hide is known to offer marvelous sightings of wildebeest, buck, warthogs and our precious rhinos. It is also a firm favourite among photographers. Unfortunately the hide was closed for renovations while we were there, so we missed out this weekend. This didn’t stop us from walking around the hide as there is always a good chance of seeing the Pink Throated Twinspots which are a special in this area. This time we dipped on these birds but were treated to a large herd of Impala, a flock of noisy guinea fowl, Sombre Greenbul and Purple Crested Turaco.
As we approached Nsumu Pan the habitat changed to more woodland and forest. Here we were treated to a very busy flock of Little Bee-eaters and a Bateleur showing off his aerial acrobatics
Across the pan was the majestic African Fish Eagle and we were lucky enough to watch an Osprey pass by.
By the time we arrived at Nsumu we were hungry and ready for more coffee and breakie. Nsumu is a huge body of fresh water. It is also breathtakingly beautiful, peaceful and restful. Although the pan is quite far from the camp, it’s not to be missed as birding is always productive. We wished we had a scope as some birds were on the far bank making it difficult to see them well.
Across the pan was the majestic African Fish Eagle and we were lucky enough to watch an Osprey pass by. Many waders were seen together with Pied Wagtail, Darter, Spur-Winged and Whitefaced Geese. I was hoping to see the Pygmy Kingfisher as I have seen him there before aswell as Pelicans but was not so lucky this time round.
We then slowly made our way back to the Camp along the Loop road. This area is well known for its raptors and we were treated to a pair of White-backed Vultures nesting, a pair of Black-Chested Snake-eagles, aswell as a pair of Lesser Spotted Eagles soaring overhead. The highlight, causing enormous excitement was a pair of African Hawk Eagles drinking from a puddle next to the road. Unfortunately they did not stay long enough for me to get a photo except of them flying off.
By the time it was too hot for even the birds we made our way back to camp for a bite to eat and ice cold beer. Then 40 winks – a must after such an early day start.
Of course every game reserve visit deserves a braai. Just as the sun began to set we made our fire, this time to the call of insects, a Fiery-necked nightjar and the odd call of a jackal.
This is so much better than being at home.
See my Blog ‘Day 1 -Weekend in Mkuze Game Reserve’