WOW another fantastic Kruger trip behind us and we are already planning the next one!!!
We spent 7 peaceful nights in the park full of highlights and a couple of not so highlights...
13 separate Lion sightings
Herd of about 60 Elephants drinking at Sunset Dam
Cheetah Mother with 3 cubs at Dukes waterhole
3 Lions stalking and then chasing a Giraffe on Salitjie Rd ( didnt get the Giraffe )
Buffalo herd probably 1000+ strong near Mlondozi Dam
3 separate Elephant Bulls that blocked the road for 45 minutes at a time....
99% of all drivers were surprisingly very well behaved at sightings!
To the driver of the white Mercedes Benz who almost drove over the Lions tail on the s100 and then blocked the view for about 6 cars....I HAVE NO WORDS FOR YOU !!!!!
Rain, rain, rain - it rained for 5 of the 8 days, which made taking pictures really difficult ( however on the other hand the park really needed some rain
No Wild Dog
Some more thoughts :
Satara was surprisingly quiet. That side of the park is still very dry and the grass wasnt very long. Some highlights include a Hyeana den on the Satara - Orpen road, a Buffalo carcass on the s90, a quick view of a Side-Striped Jackal and endless amount of Steenbok - I have never seen so many Steenboks ever!
The ( IN ) FAMOUS s100 - well, after having years of no luck on the s100, things changed and it produced this time around -
Big herds of Elephant, countless herds of Zebra and Wildebeest, Impala by the Thousands, Kudu, Warthog, Waterbuck. A pride of 21 Lions towards the end of the s100, a Lioness with 1 cub on the T-Junction of the s100 and the S41. The best sighting was a pride of 4 - 2 beautiful males in sublime condition with 2 females - they were on one of the small dirt tracks that lead to the river and we spent about an hour and a half with them and took 600 photos. Everyone was very well behaved at the sighting exept for the moron in the white Merc who almost drove over the Lions tail and then proceeded to block everyones view !!!
I heard that this pride of 4 took down a Giraffe next to the road the day after we left Satara - would have been 28 December - can anyone confirm this
The drive from Satara to Biyamiti was also exceptional - 4 separate Lion sightings, all at almost midday which was surprising. 3 big Males lying 15 metres from a batchelor herd of Buffs at Kumana Dam, a pride of 5 lying close to Mazithi Dam just a few kms down the road, a mating pair of kitties just before the H5 after Lower Sabie, and then a lone lioness in very very bad condition on the s108
Biyamiti proved very quiet, but the peacefulness of the surroundings was very welcome.
The area south of Lower Sabie was exceptional for game. The s82 loop on the way down to Croc Bridge provided Lions 3 days in a row - including one of the biggest and fittest looking Males that I have ever seen in Kruger!
The H4-2 was excellent for Elephant and Rhino on a daily basis, as well as Lionesses twice close to the H5 turn.
Another very interesting sighting was on the s30 Salitjie Rd.
We were looking at 3 female Lions lying in the grass next to the road, when suddenly a Giraffe appeared out of the bush in front of them - WOW - 2 of the females immediately went into stalk mode and slowly stalked their way towards the Giraffe. The Giraffe was standing dead still and was stearing at the lead Lioness. After about 2 minutes, the one Lioness burst out of her stalk and tried to jump on the Giraffe, without success though. Whats interesting though, is that after the first attempt, the other Lioness when back to lie down and sleep ( with the 3rd Lioness which had not bothered to get up in the first place ). The Giraffe obviously had a death wish as it came back towards the Lions 3 times in a row, but only one the one Lioness showed interest everytime and would unsuccessfully chase the Girafe all over the place. After reviewing some of my pictures, it seems like these 3 Females were very very old girls - one had a blind eye, and the other literally had almost no teeth left.....WHAT a sighting though!
The highlight of the entire trip though was the Cheetah mom with her 3 cubs close to Dukes Waterhole. Even though it was pouring with rain and my camera was getting too wet to take pictures, the sighting was brilliant. Mother lovingly tried to dry her little ones, but the rain was too hard and eventually she gave up. One of the cubs had a big gash on its back right leg - maybe a lucky escape from another predator ???
But more than any sightings, the smells and sounds of the Kruger bush are what made this yet another fantastic trip. Along with friendly staff ( especially at the Lower Sabie shop ) and beautiful animal sightings, Kruger December 2006 will be another trip to remember.