Hi everyone, I think it is going to be easier to post as a separate topic.
DAY 2 THURSDAY 8TH DECEMBER 2006
Up very early the next morning, we did our ablutions had a light snack and set off for Phabeni Gate. The processing was done by very freindly staff who informed us that that the
previous day had been one of excellent sightings on the Diospane Road. With great expectation we set off... Our first sighting for the morning was a saddle billed stork on the
side of the low level bridge one has to pass.
After admiring this beautiful bird we drove on. Our next sighting was a rhino that felt inclined to start the day much later than us and just flatly refused to stand up in order to give
us a better view and better picture. Well, this is one place we definitely do not call the shots.
Apart from sighting game, the different faces of kruger can be just as beautiful as this pic demonstrates so aptly.
Pressing on, we encountered some impalas, zebra and guinea fowl.
Further along the Diospane Road we came across a herd of buffaloes who like the rhino rlier, were ill inclined to even get up, let alone forage for food. Shortly thereafter this water monitor was what we saw.
coming to the S4 turn off, we decided to do that stretch of road and apart form a woodland kingfisher, not much else was to be seen. Linking up with the tar road, we headed for Lake Panic which proved to be a hive of activity both in terms of bird life and visitors to the hide. Here, we spotted some lovely birds, among which were, a squacco heron, a little bittern, a grey heron, sone weavers, blacksmith pliver, jacana, a family of ducks and this bird which I'd not know at all.
After having spent a leasurely length of liquid time which just fowed into the future, a time wherein the soul and heart were refreshed and reinvigorated. By the time we left lake panic it was well past eight. Onwards towards Skukuza we wended our way and were rewarded with a crock basking in the early morning sun. Also a tortoise, plodding its way to who knows where. After a quick pit stop a Skukuza we continued and saw another group of buffs, this time, right on the road. Furtheron... this is for Mark, yes you better believe it, a pack of wild dogs lazing in the mid morning sun.
We sat with them for a while before driving on. Not bad so far, into our second morning and we had already seen three of the big five as well as cheetah and wild dog. Only the two L/s to complete the magnificent seven. Alittle further on we saw this warthog. Amazingly enough, we have not seen such huge warthogs as on this trip.
Continuing at a slow pace we worked our way towards Lower Sabie. Met someone on the oad whom I informed about the wild dogs. Soon enough we saw some more impalas, this raptor
and another group of buffs on the road.
A little further on a group of four nyala browsing among the thickets. They kept playing hide and seek with us, not allowing to be photographed for a while, but finally patience paid off and we did manage to snap some shots.
This I think is a bushbuck..am I right?
Soon thereafter, we were coming out of one of the loops on the river road when the gentleman whom I had informed about the wild dogs stopped and told me about a leopard he had just seen. We turned around and headed back coming to a number of cars parked off. As we pulled up, we saw the leopard working its way deeper into the bush.
Once it was lost sight off, all the vehecles drove off leaving us all alone. We waited a few mnutes and as before, patience was a virtue not to be trifled with. This beautiful leopard crossed the road as the two jeep jockeys came towards us.
We were all ecstatic at having seen our first leopard on this particular trip. Now, only lions left to complete the magnificent seven. Will it be today, or do we have to wait till another
day? Once the leopard disappeared into the bush, we continued onward towards Lower Sabie.
Not long thereafter, we saw this magnificent raptor poised on a branch.
Within a few minutes, a lone giraffe with only its neck and head visible along the river.
On the opposite side of the river was a trio of elepahnts silently swaying along on their sojourn as we watched them proceed. Yet another ellie with a maribou in the background.
As we drove up to sunset dam, a thirsty giraffe nimbly lowered itself towards the water to quaff a few mouthfuls of aqua.
While on the other end were a group of impala much intent on the same purpose.
After stopping at Lower Sabie for luch and a short break, we set off once more in quest of whatever was on offer having passed the high water bridge, we saw yet more ellies, a pair of
fish eagles and yet another herd of buffs relaxing while the afternoon sun beat down upon us.
We drove down the S28 till we reached the Duke turnoff and worked our way back towards
Lower Sabie along the S137-S130-H4-2
This was another exquisite bird which we bespied,
Futher afield was another giraffe and a pair of hippos grazing out of the water and this beautiful martial eagle:
Finally we were back at the spot where we had seen the wild dogs that morning and they were still there, intent on doing nothing other than lazing around. Having sat with them for a
short while, we moved on. Not two clicks further, we came across these cute cubs sitting
right close to the road on the river side.
With barely two days in the park and we were fortunate to have seen members of the magnificent seven, nyala, a squacco heron and a little bittern. A great amount of grattitude is all we could express.
We spent as much time as we could with them and made it to the Diospane Road. A fair amount of general game, zebras, impalas, warthogs and giraffes dotted the way. Moving at a
steady pace, we drove past a few buffs, and an ellie without stopping to spend time with them as it was now this time of the day
but this rhino stopped us in our tracks and we were forced to take its pic before it stepped aside alowwing us to pass. Already three of the five along this stretch of road I thought to
myself...will it be a case of seeing the big five on a single stertch of road? Who knows what can happen in Kruger! No sooner had this thought crossed my mind when from the left hand side of the road these beauties showed themselves, coming right onto the road and passing almost within touching distance.
After aquick few shots, for now time was at a premium, we moved on only to be greeted by another rhino on the same side of the road as we had seen the lions.
One quick shot was all we could manage before moving on. The sun was now swiftly sweeping its way towards the horizon and we managed a few lovely shots of the day drawing
to a close.
Not much else is there hope of seeing for the gate is not to far off. We now come upon a few cars parked off on the right hand side of the road admiring a beautiful leopard sitting and
staring into the distance for a little while before getting up and moving down the incline while stretching itself as it got closer to the bottom before it worked int way into the
That was the final sighting for the day. An absolutely wonderful and fruitful day in terms of sightings. The eyes had feasted on fare that was delectable. The soul was soothed by the intermittent moments of total silence interspersed with symphony of sound that the Kruger orchestra had on offer for that day. A medley of sound, that will never be heard again in that particular sequence. All things said, another wonderful, brilliant, fantastic day drew to a close. Weary from the day’s driving we reached our accommodation which was a sight welcoming to weary limbs. After a nice meal, it was to bed for me, for tomorrow was already beckoning with promises, pregnant promises, promises that deliver beyond one’s expectations as the ongoing report will show. It just gets better and better...
To be continued...