The Final Day
We woke up to the sound of…lions! (Well done Gunner
R50 met die komplimente van ABSA vir jou!
Seeing as we had once again passed out soon after dinner we were both awake really early and had listened as the roaring got louder. We got up for a koppie sawwe lyf (a cup of coffee) and tried to figure out from which direction the roars were coming from exactly. We could hear they were coming from the South but it was difficult to figure out whether the lions were south-east or south-west of the camp. It could prove a vital point as we were planning on driving west towards the weir and if the lions were east of the camp we could miss them all together. After munching a couple of rusks for breakfast we left camp just after six and set off westwards, stopping every so often to see if we could still hear the roaring. Nothing. Iziko.Ntzikile Ntzimandze.
But then, less than 2 kilometers from camp, Tibso yelled: “Stoppie lorrie! (Stop this truck good sir!)
I reversed to see what his sharp eyesight had spotted this time but I think even someone half asleep would have spotted this magnificent fellow sitting less than 5 meters from the side of the road.
It was just brilliant – after listening to their roars for close on an hour we had found the lions.
I say lions because as we were sitting exchanging pleasantries with the big guy I suddenly heard movement behind me on the other side of the car. Not 1, not 2, not even 3 but 4 other male lions walked past! They weren’t as accommodating as our friend though and crossed the road and trudged down a game path before settling in the thick undergrowth about 50 meters from the road. The first lion also got up and joined his companions. We followed their progress down the game trail until they disappeared. A good half an hour had passed since Tibso first spotted the lion. What a start to the day!
At the lookout point just a couple of hundred meters down the road we got out to enjoy the early morning sun and were rewarded with more roaring from the bachelors. Suddenly there was an answering call from across the Biyamiti River and the two groups continued to call back and forth for a good few minutes. We just stood rooted to the spot and enjoyed the show. We could have called it quits there and then and gone straight back to camp and I would have been happy. But seeing as it was only 7 o’clock we continued towards the weir as planned.
As it turned out there was no more “big” sightings on the rest of our drive. We saw lots of ellies though and the Biyamiti loop was really worth the drive. On two occasions we saw fresh leopard spoor on the road. We took the S26 back to camp with the 2nd part of this road also proving rich in wildlife.
We got back to camp in the nick of time to check out and after hastily packing up our stuff we bid farewell to Biyamiti and started our trek out of the park.
It had taken only 1 day for us to fall in love with the S139 and we both agreed that you would almost certainly see something worthwhile every time you drove this road. We were proved right as we rounded a corner and were stopped in our tracks by a huge herd of buffaloes. It is always great being surrounded by a herd of these impressive animals and we switched off the car and spent a good few minutes taking pictures and conversing with the members of the farewell party
Turning off the S139 onto the S114 we continued southwards towards Malelane. At the junction of the S114 & S118 we stumbled into this guy – surely a case of a big fish in a small pond.
The Crocodile River was a good 6 or 7 kilo’s away so we assumed the hippo had gone foraging and decided to park off for a day before returning home. As we turned onto the S118 we looked back to see a herd of elephants storm the waterhole and chase the hippo towards the nearby riverbed.
What an unusual and appropriate way to end our trip. Back on the H3 we enjoyed our last few minutes in the park as we approached Malelane gate. Before getting there though we crossed paths with a big family of elephants, which was also appropriate as I had never seen so many elephants in one trip. This was quite strange as I always assumed there were more ellies up North.
Anyways, it was time to except our fate and after being sent on our way by the friendly gate guard at Malelane (kudos, or should I say kudus, to the guys at Malelane gate – every single person from the rangers at the outside gate to the reception staff and gate guards were friendly and efficient). Where was I…oh, after being sent on our way by a shining row of white teeth we braced ourselves and re-entered the real world and took up our position in the long queue at the petrol station.The end
A sincere thank you to everyone who shared this short trip report with me.
Your views and comments make it not only worthwhile but great fun to relive yet another unforgettable few days in the place that will surely one day turn out to be heaven. (Probably without the Easter traffic jams though!
)Boys on Tour 2 locked and stored in the memory bank (for now at least!)