Just a brief update on our sightings thus far. If it is too long or boring, please edit it mods!
(We have learnt one thing…..having a VERY active 18-month old baby in the car severely limits photo opportunities, he loves calling the animals closer!! Books and games can only occupy him so long before mommy and daddy proves to be the best jungle gym around!)
Day 1, Friday 25 May 2007
After arriving at the small, but lovely thatch roofed Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, we made our way to Numbi Gate in order to be in the park as soon as possible.
At about 3pm I smell the typical “entrance gate aroma”, there is no smell comparable to this in all the world. After being welcomed by the friendly staff, we took the first road to the left (S3) and were greeted by Impala. Closely followed by elephant and yip, 2 lions!! The lions were a fair distance away and no picture opportunities, the kind of sighting that bert
is famous for! (I have sympathy bert!!)
About 1km up the road we spotted 2 white rhino grazing with a herd of buffalo, all of these sightings in the short stretch before reaching the S7 turnoff! We only needed a leopard to complete the big 5 on the first day, but no such luck.
We retired to our bungalow in Skukuza with one seriously tired little boy. It was freezing to say the least, my heart went out to the campers!
Day 2, Saturday 26 May 2007
We awoke to a cold crisp morning to find that relatives of ours came for a surprise visit from Jo’burg, because of other commitments, they could unfortunately only stay the one day, but a LOVELY surprise nevertheless.
At gate opening time, we left Skukuza with our yellow ribbon around the driver-side mirror. We made our way to the H1-2 and took the Marula Loop. We only spotted general game, but, as always, it is lovely to watch. We enjoyed a lovely brunch back at Skukuza. Later the afternoon we took the S3 along the river and returned back along the S1 in the direction from Phabeni Gate towards Skukuza, we had a lean day in terms of predators, but the day was not over yet! As we took a corner, about 3 km before the road joins up with the Kruger Gate road, we could see shapes running on the side of the road, MarkWildDog
, this one is for you: 3 healthy, beautiful wild dogs running in the road, they suddenly started running with real purpose and started chasing an impala ewe, we saw the first part of the hunt, the impala unfortunately ran into deeper bush out of sight and eventually we had to leave in order to make the gates before closing time. The light was very bad and no photo opportunities presented itself. I was thrilled about the sighting, but disappointed not to get any shots. Before reaching the gates (in time), we saw a hyena mommy with a VERY TINY pup. Satisfied and excited we made our way back to Skukuza. After finishing our dinner, we made our way back to our bungalow, it was again a VERY cold evening. Soon we were all fast asleep, happy with the days events.
Day 3, Sunday 27 May 2007
We are car number 3 waiting for the gate to open, the cold air bites every exposed limb! We make our way along the H4-1, before long we spot 2 lions, a male and a female, on the side of the road, we do not have them to ourselves at all, the early morning traffic soon clogs up the road, the lions head for the bush while we quickly make a getaway while we still can to take the famous (for some) S30 – Salitjie Road, I have seldomly seen anything “wow” on this road, and I’m not too optimistic, but we decided to try our luck once more and see if it can deliver on the cats/dogs, my view of Salitjie has not changed. (something like Wiltuinman and the S100 I imagine!) after having one of the worse breakfasts in a restaurant I have ever had
, we left Lower Sabie and make our way to Skukuza on the H4-1. We see lots of ellies and buffs. The baboons entertain our little boy with their antics and a few nice kudu and bushbuck sightings make the journey a very enjoyable one.
Day 4, Monday 28 May 2007
This morning we took the S1, then S65 and return to Skukuza on the H3. We saw a white rhino, hyenas strolling down the roads as only hyenas can and loads of ellies and buffs.
We took the day easy and enjoyed the animal life in the camp, there are hordes of arrogant monkeys and beautiful birds. Late afternoon we once again took the S3 along the river and returned back along the S1 in the direction from Phabeni Gate towards Skukuza. Finally, about at the same spot where we saw the wild dogs, a leopard walks on the side of the road, the light is very bad and I’m really frustrated that I cannot get any decent pics. We watch him for about 5 minutes before he disappears deeper into the bush. We are thrilled, this makes it the Big 5 in 3 days! (even though it was white rhino we spotted)
Day 5, Tuesday 29 May 2007
This morning, we were car number 4 in line waiting for the gate to open. Again we made our way along the (now well traveled by us) loop: S3 then S1 return. We spot hyenas and only general game until we reach the S1 where a male and female lion entertained us and about 5 other cars, bert
, you might want to skip the following line or two:
we slowly followed them as they walked in front of us, I fortunately found myself at the front of the cars, I stopped about 10 meters from them, they turned around and walked towards our car, I was stuck, lions in front and cars behind (not a bad place to be) they made themselves comfortable about 3 meters from us and we had a full view of them. I’ll post some pics later. They were in front of the car so taking pics was tricky unless it was done through the windscreen which I have never been keen on doing. As I maneuvered out of the way for others to see this amazing site I managed a few nice shots from my open window. Had a lovely lunch in the restaurant at Skukuza.
The weather warmed up nicely and I’m writing this report in T-shirt and shorts!
Heading up to Satara tomorrow!!
Will give you an update in a few days time.