My wife and I have just returned to Australia after a wonderful holiday in South Africa just a shame to be back at work. We had 5 days in Kruger. DAY ONE 4th May 2010
On day 1 we entered early morning through the Numbi gate after spending the night at Hazyview cottages (lovely). After leaving the gate we turned on the S3 not long up the road we got all excited something moved it was a Kudu female. Soon we saw the first of many Impala but further up the road cars were stopped and there were Wild Dog on the road.
Before we reached the end of the S3 we had seen Giraffe and Zebra also. On the S1 we saw Warthog and Baboon, we turned on the Hi-2 and saw Crocodile at the bridge. On the S36 we saw Buffalo
Then Further along we saw Lion there were 4 but we mainly saw tails and the males head.
Other animals we saw on the S36 were wilderbeest and more of the usual giraffe, zebra etc.
We proceeded to the S39 on our way to Olifants rest camp along the way we saw Waterbuck and a Sable? but could not get a photo at Piet Grobler we saw Crocodile and Hippo.
We then proceeded along the S39 to the H8 and just before the gates of Olifants we saw our first Elephant.
Then at the camp we saw the Vervet monkeys and bats then a meal at the restaurant at Olifants and a couple of wines put a nice finish to a wonderful first day in Kruger.DAY TWO 5th May 2010
We were up early and had breakfast to wait at the gate to start day two. We travelled down the H8 and turned onto the H1-5. We got out of the vehicle ont the Olifants River bridge in the allotted area, here we saw a crocoile waiting and watching the water beside the bridge pylon.
Along the H1-5 we saw the usual Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Wilderbeest and then some Ostrich.
As there was not a lot to be seen on the tar road we tyrned down the S127 but didn't find much else. we pulled in at Timbavati picnic area. Here we spoke with the ranger who asked if we could take his colleague with us to Satara which we did. Along the S40 almost at the H7 we had to wait for a large herd of Buffalo to cross the road. We saw this herd at the Nsemani Dam along with a large group of Hippo.
Just as we turned onto the H1-4 we saw some Elephant grazing. One of these had only one tusk.
That afternoon we drove along the H1-4, S90, S41, S100, having been told of Lion & Rhino sightings that morning, only to find the usual Giraffe etc. But the day had lots left in it as we took a night drive, our guide was Muss. He took us to find an elephant in must on the H1-4 (the one tusker) and then on to a lot more. After doing a U turn we saw Giraffe, Waterbuck, Bushbuck and then as we were about to stop and look at 2 Buffalo we saw 3 young male Lions in hot pursuit of them. This was just near the H6 intersection. We stopped anticipating a kill and had the Buffalo and Lions run swiftly past the truck. This was a failed attempt of a kill but very exciting, sorry my night time photography skills were not up to the task of getting a photo. After watching this spectacle we proceeded down the road toward the S100 and a Leopard crossed the road and then walked beside it for quite a while giving us some wonderful night time viewing. We went up the S100 with out seeing anything until we turned back toward Satara we then saw a Blackback Jackal and another Leopard that was walking along the road beside us putting the polish on a wonderful 2 hour trip ending day 2.DAY THREE 6th May 2010
Day 3 saw us waiting for the Satara gates to open so we could go looking to see if we might sight the Lions or Leopard from the previous night on the H1-3. No luck, so we travelled on until we turned on to the S126 along which we had no special sightings. The S36 was much the same but once we turned along the S125 after travelling a short distance we saw a herd of Elephant with one large female that looked to be heavy in calf.
A bit further along the S125 at Mhisanamond we saw Hippo, one of them very Large.
We then travelled to the H1-3 and followed it untill the S35 where we saw 2 Secretary Birds, one of them stamping on something. After watching for a while it picked up a small snake.
We arrived at Lower Sabie and observed Hippo in the river and went to our luxury tent. That afternoon we went on a sunset drive, our guide was Patrick who turned out to be an extremely knowledgable man with a passion for his job and a very happy, jokingly, friendly nature. During the drive along the H4-2 we saw a herd of Elephant coming up from the river.
Along the S28 we saw a remarkable sunset which Patrick selected a place to pull up to make the photos look better.
Further along the S28 we saw Vultures in a tree and with that number of them in the area, we thought there may have been a recent kill but could not find it.
This drive produced our first Rhino sighting but unfortunately this white Rhino was a long way off and the light was failing and the pic is not very good.
The rest of the drive was reasonably quiet with sightings of lone Buffalo, Scrub Hare, Black Back Jackal and Hippo.DAY FOUR 7th May 2010
We were up early to go on our sunrise drive, once again we had Patrick as our guide. Patrick had heard Lion roaring close to the camp during the night along with the rest of us. He headed out of the camp across the Sabie River and up the S128. Not far up the S128 we sighted eyes up the road and as we got closer we noticed a Male and 3 Female Lions. As it turned out 2 of the Females were in season, the Male spent most of his time with the one Female not in season that had a collar around her neck.
One Lioness was spending a lot of time flirting in front of the Male but he took no notice of her. She rolled in front of him raced into the bush and scratched a tree but he showed no interest.
After her flirtations she came out of the bush and as soon as she got near the Male the other Female in season chased her away and then lay in front of the Male and they mated. As soon as it was over the Male turned and looked at us and roared several times very happy with himself.
We sat at this site watching until the sun lit the area making the photos better and the other Female had gotten lucky mating with the Male a few times. She seemed to be quite contented with herself.
He looks happy.
With his Favourite.
We left this happy Royal Family (to steal Patrick's words) and went on. We had to U Turn because the Lions weren't moving. We drove along the H10 and got some beutiful photos of the sunrise.
We then drove onto the Mondozi Dam for a break, there was a large population of Hippo in the dam.
Patrick as an African Buffalo.
After leaving the dam we went to the S29 were we saw a recently born Giraffe with mum.
Up the road a bit we sighted 3 Rhino which made Lorraine and I excited as we had been waiting to get a decent sighting of Rhino.
On our way back along the S128 we saw a herd of Elephant, of which 1 Female didn't appreciate us being there and she charged at us. Further along we were again in the compamy of the Royal Family from the morning and they were still at it.
We went for a drive in the afternoon hoping to find some Rhino but were not that lucky but we did see the Royal Family again. Along the H10 several vehicles were stopped and people were looking into the bush with bionoculars, I asked one of them what they were looking at and was told there were 2 Cheetah way off beside a tree. I looked through my bionoculars but could not see them in the long grass and as it was getting near gate closing time we headed back to camp.DAY FIVE 8th May 2010
Once again we were at the gate waiting to get out and see what Kruger had for us and we weren't disappointed that is not in the morning. As we went along the H4-2 we caught up with Martie as she guided a sunrise drive they were at a sighting of a Hippo grazing. We followed MJ for a while, on the S28, hoping to take advantage of their extra height. When they pulled up to look at Girraffe we decided to pass and go by ourselves, lucky for us we did this as we the first to get to a sighting of Leopard. The Leopard was lying on a dead tree casually looking around. It decided to get up and walk down the tree and into the grass, another car had pulled up to see this and MJ came along just in time to see the Leopard go down off the tree.
We were lucky to get all of this on video. The rest of the day we travelled the S28, H4-2 to Crocodile Bridge where we had coffee with friends (John & Nickie) we met at Lower Sabie who are from Canada. Our drive after this was along the S25, S26, S102, H5, S114, S110 to Berg En Dal, we had no different sightings along these roads just more of the usual Elephants etc. There was one large Hippo by the road and an Elephant playing in a dam.
The rest of the day we spent taking pictures of birds and turtles etc. DAY SIX 9th May 2010
We awoke to get to the gate for our last day in Kruger with much regret. Upon leaving Berg En Dal we turned north on the S110 to continue the loop we were rewarded by a Lion sighting. This Male looked as if he was just waking as he yawned several times then gave himself a licking bath before standing up and doing the morning constitutionals.
After driving along the S114 and S121 we travelled down the H3 toward the Malelane Gate on the way we saw our last Elephant and sadly left the Kruger.
I waited until I was almost 60 before getting to this wonderful park and hope that it is not the last as i have had a wonderful adventure and I believe Lorraine has also.
Bob & Lorraine Billingham