Monday September 10
Lower Sabie was our next stop, so everything was packed up and we headed for the Gardenia Hide. We didn’t see the lions, but about half an hour after we left the area, we received a text message from WendyA that there were 1 or 2 male lions sleeping on the side of the road around James water hole. Oh well, we missed them, can’t win them all.
We wanted to follow-up on the text message that we had gotten from our friends late yesterday afternoon about the lion kill at the end of the S113. We knew it would be a long shot, but it was on our way to Lake Panic, so why not? But even closer, and still on our way, was Afsaal.
There was a nagging little voice in my head that had started yesterday and had been getting louder and louder. It sounded like “waffles, waffles”.
Oh why not? We were stopping there anyway for a toilet break, and we hadn’t yet had breakfast...... It was only 1 waffle, with ice cream, but we shared it.
(Note to self – must try to duplicate this at home.)
With the annoying little voice silenced, we continued up to the S113. Sure enough, at the end of the road, there were about 6 vehicles. We checked around to see where everyone was looking. Of course, everyone else was in a larger vehicle and had a height advantage. The grass was long, but we did manage to see a lioness and 2 or 3 cubs. The cubs were struggling, it was sandy and the terrain wasn’t flat. This was the best I could get.
We continued on to Lake Panic, and the usual residents were there: a Goliath heron fishing,
grey herons with very noisy chicks,
terrapins, a crake, hippos in the distance, 3 bush buck, a few elephants, a pied kingfisher and a fish eagle way in the distance. I was too busy watching all the animals and birds that I forgot to take photos after a while.
We found a giant kingfisher on the Sabie River high water bridge.
We headed towards Lower Sabie on the H4-1. A warthog was snuffling around,
a male nyala hiding in the bush
and then came across a few traffic jams. It was a very hot day - in the low 40’s and we didn’t have the patience to wait for what may or may not be a good sighting. We slowly pushed our way through and got some dirty looks. It was difficult getting around vehicles that were stopped all over the road. We did catch a glimpse of a lioness lying right beside the road. There may have been more around but we continued on.
At the second traffic jam, we waited about 10 minutes and someone came through from the opposite direction. He told us there was 1 leopard and 37 cars, the leopard was difficult to see, it was on the ground about 30 metres back from the road. We waited a little while longer and then just couldn’t take the heat anymore, so we again slowly made our way through. We never did find out where the leopard was. I got the feeling that most of the vehicles had stopped because everyone else had. I wonder if they ever did get to see the leopard? When sightings are that crowded, we usually don’t stick around. Previous experience has taught us that the crowded sightings oftern are not very good.
We checked in at Lower Sabie. We were in the tented camp – bush view. One year we splurged and stayed in a river view tent, but there was a tree right in front of the tent, so you really couldn’t see much. We decided the bush view ones were just as good and usually the birds that would come around were quite entertaining. We noticed that there really weren’t all that many birds this time.
For our late afternoon game drive, we went to the Mlondozi picnic site. These were the highlights along the way:
Temperatures were starting to drop
and the wind was picking up which may (or may not) have accounted for the lack of sightings. We had good bird sightings at Lake Panic and also saw general game so it was another good day in Kruger.