Had a fantastic, but as usual too short trip two weeks ago.
Trip was worth every cent, as I was lucky enough to spot the spotted one this time, for the first time.
We spent two hours watching this elegant leopard eating its prey in a tree and then taking a snooze in the bushes. This sighting was made 5 minutes after entering at Kruger gate on 05/06/07 !
The day before, we followed circling vultures to a spot where a lioness walked out ahead of us, then right past my window, I could have stuck my hand out and touched her, oblivious to our presence. She walked along as we rode, for about 20 metres, struck a pose for the cameras, and then disappeared into the dense bush. She had just eaten, as there were signs of fresh blood below her chin. At a distance in the bush, and only visible through binoculars, was the rest of the pride relaxing after their meal. The bush was too dense to view the remains of the kill, and the vultures which had by now settled on it.
What I found strange this time was the abundance of vultures and giraffe.
Sunset dam was fascinating and we could have spent the entire day there watching the coming and going of crocodile, hippo, giraffe, buck, warthog, etc. etc. etc,. Most striking was a hippo laying right next to a MASSIVE croc. This hippo was actually dwarfed by this croc.
At Tranport dam the next daywe saw hyena, croc and fish eagle, which we hoped, in vain, would provide us with the photo opportunity of it swooping to catch a fish. We also just missed a cheetah at the same spot.
What I need some feedback on, from other visitors to the park on the 5/07/07 is on the fate of an injured hyena on the S1 very close to the gravel turn off to the loop that would take you to Kruger gate. The hyena had a severe injury behind its head, which seemed to have paralised its limbs. It was a grave sight to see hundreds of vultures waiting patiently for it to give in and die. The poor creature had plenty of life left in it and was putting on strong fight in a fruitless attempt to get back on its feet. It would routinely lift its head and look at the vultures observing him.
I am curious to hear from others who may know what caused the injury and what eventually happened to the hyena?
Most of the animal activity that week seemed to be on the road between lower sabi and skukuza.One person I met at a picnic spot saw 4 leopards and two prides of lion on that route on the 04/07/07.!
I had an overall fulfilling trip, made so by me finally seeing a leopard in the wild. As a bonus, it was in a tree and with a kill.
Hope to hear about the hyena incident from anyone.
Take care, and good luck to all those visiting Kruger!