and me and SO were up really early in preparation for our EMD Early Morning Drive. We decided to go on this activity because, as devoted Forumites will know, Raymond reported some superb sightings from BnD. And since it was my birthday, this surely was the way to go.
It was still very dark and very quiet in the camp as we made our way to the assembly point where we met our guide, Muzi. A short while later we were joined by two more people who came all the way from Atlanta in the USA. We were very glad that it stopped raining and the weather was clearing nicely.
Perhaps we had to high an expectation of the drive, given that on our previous drive we saw a pride of lions with an unsuccessful attack on a buffalo, while on the drive before that we saw no less than seven different prides of lion, a leopard, African Wild Cat and more. So when it took a full 53 minutes before we saw our FIRST animal (or bird) of the drive – a lonely impala – even Muzi was disappointed.
However, though the roads were deserted, it was beautiful, and hey, we were in KNP!
Then after 1 hour and 22 minutes, we saw two elephants. Muzi called this Mommyphant
and her Youngsterphant
a “breeding herd” and spent some 20 minutes sharing interesting facts about these gentle giants of the African bush before moving on.
After about two hours on the road, we turned back to the camp, having seen very, very little in terms of game and birds. Muzi’s explanation was that because of the all the rain that fell during the couple of days prior, the animals moved away from their usual drinking spots and could get water near new grazing.
Then suddenly, while we were heading back to camp at an indicated speed of ± 35km/h, a Waterbuck
decided to cross the road right in front of us. We were glad to see it and very glad we did not bump into it. After me observing K53 during our encounter with Mr Grumpyphant, I definitely will have to have a word with this unruly bunch about road safety ... why didn’t they go to a zebra-crossing???
We arrived safely back in the camp and after a light breakfast, packed our stuff, heading for Lower Sabie. For those interested in the route we followed, it is as follows (for those not interested in this detail, please skip this and go to the next paragraph): S110, H3, H2, S114, S26, S108, S25, H4-2, S130, S137, S28.
On our way out of BnD, we saw this Black
. My good friend flipp (now residing in Australia) used to call them “Wildtuinvoëltjies”. (... how I wish you could be with us flipp and family!!)
As we made our way to Lower Sabie, we saw a number of the usual, common sightings. However, after the EMD where we saw almost nothing, every bird and every animal was a celebration. (I realised it again this morning when driving to work in the morning traffic ...)
A lipstick hornbill
This animal with, given its name, what can only be tan
And a mudpala
was as magnificent as always
But it was when we came around the next corner that we had a sighting that was one of the all-time highlights of not only this visit to Kruger, but of ALL
our visits to Kruger.To be continued