After a snooze and a warm shower we had our coffee left on our game drive, the temperature was good and all were enthusiastic about we were about to see.
Our first sighting was this Waterbuck.
After turning east on the H1-1 we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo about six hundred metres distant on the southern side of the road.
Then a bit further some Elephant bulls including this raggedy eared old fellow.
Christina expressed her wish of seeing a baby Elephant.
We drove on and saw some dainty Impala, some Zebra and a few Blue Wildebeest.
Then some Rhino and Kallie turned off in a northerly “no entry” signed road. Here we spotted six more White Rhino feeding in the now rapidly approaching dusk.
A bit further we drove onto a flat rocky formation where we could enjoy the peace of the approaching dark and our sundowners.
Kallie and myself spent some time alone having our interview, I was again pleased to hear about his passion for KRUGER and also about how he got to KRUGER, his father was employed in the Park and reading about the history of the Park the surname Ubisi is frequently mentioned.
After Kallie, Saul and myself spent some time having our interview, he told about times spent with his hero, the man who taught him much – Kobus Kruger, the man from Mahlangeni and Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie, and of Kobie the Rangers wife and Sandra and Karin and of course Leo . . . .
All too soon it was entirely dark as only a balmy African night could be; we set off to Napi under star jewelled skies.
Driving along we saw some shadows and when the spotlight shone on them, Christina gave a little shriek – an Elephant female with her little calf and another pair with a little family group. The lady from Boston said that now her trip had been made. “Two females with babies! Incredible”.
A bit further on a group of Buffalo crossed the road in front of us, with heads raised they sniffed the air and gave us the stare – we were not accepting the challenge so they lost interest and walked off.
Just before the turnoff to Napi Camp, I spotted a yellow and brown creature crossing the road from north to south – a Puffadder; I am always amazed about how they seem to walk using their ribs, in appearance not very much unlike a centipede with its many legs.
Christina gave a shiver and said I could have my snake, she would rather see Elephants.
Driving down the dirt track we saw many Chameleons and then we again heard the gruff hru hru, hru hru hru – the Verraux’s Eagle Owl again voicing his dissatisfaction with our presence in his Kingdom, while giving us the stare. We drove on a bit further on we again noticed the faint coppery taint in the evening breeze, no one said a word.
Then a little glow was evident in the distance, Napi Camp, here a braai of tasty venison awaited us with vegetables and of course mieliepap, all had some, even the Cape Townians and the Bostonians. I was quite surprised.
The evening was spent with talking and listening to the sounds of the Scopsies and some Baboons finding something not to their liking. Then it was bedtime.
We lay and listened and chatted, we agreed that going on a Wilderness trail is a spiritual experience for you feel and you smell and you feel and you hear and you see – all of this eventually settling into one’s soul, where it remains for many years to come, something that is never really forgotten.
As is customary the bush alarm went off at the normal time, happily welcoming the new day. The sun rose and lit the dew laden grass and leaves giving them a special diamondish glitter with the full colour spectrum being available for all to see.
Breakfast was enjoyed at 07:00 no one said much as “kwa herrie time” had sneaked up on us – it was time to say good–bye to Romano and to fill up the awaiting white trailer.
We greeted Romano who waived as we passed through the gate, I felt that I tiny piece of myself had been left behind. We passed the symbol of cleanliness and hygiene - a dainty little Steenbok who unafraid stood watching us, its dark little eyes under dark lashes shining in the clear light.
Some more Buffalo and Zebra and Wildebeest and Impala came to offer their greetings along the way.
We passed the turn off to Pretoriuskop and there at the S14 corner was the King awaiting us,
he seemed well fed and watched us with his glowing golden eyes, sometimes licking a paw or shaking his majestic head displaying his hank of dark brown and golden mane.
Christina mentioned that she would just love hearing him roar; the King seemed to hear this and rose displaying his full majesty; cameras were clicking and the adrenaline was flowing, then he obliged and sent out his thunderous roar, all in our vehicle got quite a shock at the sheer volume, here only about four away with no windows in between.
The King must have been unsure about his proclamation and sent out more and more thundering roars
Christina was satisfied and the King again went to lie down still next to the road.
Then to our amazement the golden coloured Queen arrived she approached and her and the King made themselves quite comfortable in watching the amazed tourists.
Eventually we had to return to camp. Our luggage was unpacked and we greeted one another – Napi Trail had come to an end for us, however the memories would be cherished and shared for still many years to come.
The Royal couple were still waiting at the turn off to the Fayi Loop and allowed us the rest of the audience, we noticed that the teats of the Royal Lady were swollen; we wished that the little ones would turn up, but they were safely elsewhere.
We still had to drive to Berg & Dal for our last evening; we saw some Giraffe and Zebra and Impala and a few Kudu.
We stopped at Afsaal for a Coke where we both agreed that the Napi was just great. About three kilometres south of Afsaal I noticed some Rhino, we stopped and watched, and as they came closer I imagined that these two White Rhino were smaller than usual and on looking even closer noticed that they had no humps – I grabbed the binoculars and yes there about a hundred and twenty metres away was my second sighting of a pair of BLACK Rhinos in KRUGER
the previous being two years ago near Lower Sabie at the S128/H10/S29 junction.
We watched until the couple decided that enough was enough and they walked back from where they had come from.
How lucky can one get?
We turned right on the S120 to our destination and spotted this proud clean animal with it’s ivory tipped horns and sheer silky mane and a clean looking silky fringe under the throat accentuating the sunlight.
At Berg & Dal no 32 was clean and well kept, we unpacked and went for an hours nap. Then off along the S110, here we did not see much, on our return we passed the turn-off to B&D and drove on, found some Buff alongside the road
and then noticed a huge traffic jam on the bridge to Matjulu, here a Leopard ina tree was guarding its meal, drawing as much attention as possible.
eventually we crawled through the jam and turned around and returned to camp.
Our last meal of the trip was about to be prepared, while awaiting the fire to turn to nice hot coals with a rich purple glow, I noticed a movement in the Sycamore in front of our accommodation, we looked again and there it was a Small Spotted Genet, laying watching every movement.
The little cat entertained us for about an hour
and then disappeared as softly as it had arrived. The food was cold but we did not mind, we had just again experienced another precious moment in a very special place . . . .