Awakening to the pattering sound of incessant rain in the wee hours of the morning we began preparing for day two in the park. To be exact, my eyes opened at about three thirty am. Has a bite to eat, got everything we needed packed and loaded after which we left for Malelane gate in the rain which showed no sign of letting up. The first sighting to greet us was a female hyena suckling her pups.
Driving on we caught sight of a beautiful rainbow in the distant background. This was followed by a herd of impis crossing the road.
Thereafter we spotted three rhinos grazing contentedly along the roadside. Two of the three decided to move away from the third and we followed them up the road for a while after
which we carried on towards Skukuza on the main tar road.
Further up the road we were saw yet another rhino on its own.
The next sighting was amazingly beautiful, a herd of elephants huddled together in the rain. In the herd were some babies of which one was rolling in the mud and extending its trunk
around. We spent some time here realising that we were fairly fortunate to have seen even this much considering the amount of rain that was pouring down. We watched their different antics for a while and then carried on.
By the time we reached Skukuza I was tired and parked off for a little while and caught a short nap. After about half an hour I felt rather refreshed. Looked at the sightings board and
proceeded towards LS on the tar road. Due to the continuous rain, we thought it prudent to stick to the tar roads rather than get bogged down somewhere.
After the first bend in the road we came across a one tusked warthog happily eating its life away. This was followed by a pair of barking baboons walking on the tar road ahead of us
towards a herd of impis among which was, believe it or not, a one horned ram. Further down the road was an owl sitting in a tree followed by a troop of vervet monkeys jumping from
branch to brach and having the time of their life.
Finally we reached sunset dam where we saw a host of hippos happily submerged in the water and surfacing from time to time. Every now and then, one or the other would yawn with its mouth gaping wide. Also visible was also a solitary croc lazily gliding around just below the surface. What a difference in the level of the dam compared to a month before. Many of the trees were submerged in the water up to part where the foliage begins to grow. The weaver birds at the dam were very busy as well. It appeared as if they were in the midst of some conference with birds darting in and out of nests. It was absolutely relaxing such sitting there and listening to the varied sounds of the prolific bird life around the dam.
From there we naturally proceeded to LS where we went straight to the sightings board. Here we met an honorary ranger by the name of Abdul Moosa who informed us about a leopard with her cub which he had seen playing on the road early that morning while on his way up to LS from Crocodile Bridge. He also mentioned that someone had just reported seeing them not half an hour earlier.
Now, as we filled up and left LS, we were deciding which route to take. Our initial plan had been to drive up to Tshokwane and drive down to Skukuza from there back to Malalane. As
we reached the bridge that spans the Sabie river we deliberated and decided to rather drive in the direction of Crocodile bridge. The drive down was fairly quite with nothing other than a family of warthogs and a pair of buffaloes that presented themselves as sightings of note.
Meandering along the road we came upon some cars parked off with people holding binoculars through which they were intently staring into the bush. We were informed that
there was leopard sleeping about thirty metres in the undergrowth, and when I say undergrowth, it was more like overgrowth with nothing besides thick thorn, grotesque
branches and thick leaves to be seen. Slowly plying our way up, stopping and moving in order to see if even mere glimpse of the elusive one could be gleaned, I finally managed to see, a
LTFDITB- a leopardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tail flicking deep in the bush.
To be continued......!!!!!!