Hi everyone, home for 2 nights and then down to the Eastern Cape for a week.
We had wonderful sightings in the park - far more than we could have wished for.
Saturday we went into the park at Croc Bridge and drove along the dirt roads to Lower Sabie, - saw a few rhino's - also a rhino and various buck/birds at Sunset Dam - lunched at Mlondozi, was incredibly humid so took shelter under the thatch for a few hours, later we took the S122 (Muntshe Loop) and spotted 2 lion under a tree, watched baby waterhog suckling, was rather a cute scene, further on the 8 ostriches and a rhino and then late afternoon at Nhlaganzwani Dam, alongside the road were 5 jackal cubs calling out for their parents and at the dam 2 rhino, then spotted 4 rhino together and a little further on lion in the distance - and then 2 rhino just up the road from Croc. Bridge
Christmas day we decided to make it up to Skukuza to brunch, so took the back roads around Biymati area - saw a number of buffies and ellies on the way. Skukuza day visitors picnic area was chaotic, after a 10 min search for a table, we than had to wait and wait for a gas bottle and skottel, gave up in the end and went to Skukuza for lunch - takaways. Then after lunch we went back down to Gardenia Hide, well as we arrived there, there was a herd of ellies at the waterhole and while we quietly slipped into the hide, they quietly slipped out of the waterhole - missed great photo opportunity there. Yes there is some water at Gardenis Waterhole. Anyway we took a slow drive back along S25 to Croc Bridge and saw the ellies who'd given us the slip + 2 rhino and later 4 more lion - again close to Croc Bridge we encountered 2 more rhino.
On Wed we were undecided where to go especially after a disasterous start with having to queue for an hour outside the park gates across the river, so decided to make for Lower Sabie / Tshokwane, saw a couple of ellies and rhino's and then the sighting of 2 sets of mating lion 20 meters apart on the S28 - as you join the dirt road to Lower Sabie. I would say that their close proximity to each other was rather unusual. The one couple was close in a clearing, so great photo opportunity. Of course the crowds arrived and we eventually left, passing police travelling rather fast on that narrow dirt road down to the lion. We decided to skip Tshokwane and go to Mlondozi for lunch - Just after leaving Lower Sabie and on S29 we spotted 2 hyena under some thicket, hadn't seen them for sometime. Coming back from lunch about 1.5km from the picnic site was our first time in a long time sighting of the cheetah not far from the road taking shelter from the midday sun under a tree we sat and watched her for a bit. Then we took the S30 dirt road long the Sabie River and while parked under those lovely big trees watched ellies taking a swim in the pool - all along the river route we saw ellie herds and various raptors, down to Nkuhlu but into a traffic jam, a male lion lying close to the road but down the embankment under bushes, so was a quick look. Again we took a dirt road from LS to Croc and about a 1km down the road were 2 more lion!! We were fast loosing count. As we approaching the bridge up from Croc Camp, here comes a lioness walking up the middle of the road, great view we had of her as we were the front vehicle coming down the road. This is now 18h10 and we have just made it through one traffic jam, but straight into another after the bridge where we encounted no less than 4 cheetah 1km up Croc Bridge Camp was amazing, they crossed the road right in front of us . It is sometime since we have seen cheetah in KNP. you can just visualize the chaos at 18h15 with 2 brilliant sightings so close the the gate at that time of day.
Thursday we only went in at 13h00 as we had planned a visit to Biyamiti with the camp manager - we walked around the camp for about half an hour, at the Biyamiti lookout point there were hundreds of buffies in the river below - but our intention was to get back to Gardenia Hide just after 16h00 to see the ellies come to drink. There were 2 other families there, one guy looked like a wild life photographer with all those fancy lens on his camera and he was well set up. Needless to say, no ellies in sight and we left after 30 min with the intention of getting back to Croc Bridge, but came across a big herd of buffies and then decided that if we contined alone the river route to Croc Bridge we would not make it by 18h30, so went up to the H-3 and go out at Malalane. About 4 km up we came across a herd of ellies, but the bull ellie had the most enormous tusks and we watched them for about 20 min, managed to get out at Malalane with 15 min to spare.
All in all we had some wonderful sightenings, far more than we could have expected, but the humidity was terrible even on those overcast days
We were watching the river infront of our chalet rise and fall and this evening we head that Croc Bridge was closed at lunch time to-day due to the river being too high.
Just a note for those visiting that area and hoping to shop in Komatipoort - Spar burnt down so you now have to shop at Malalane or in the park.
I don't know when we will see photos as we are going away again on Sunday.