Our afternoon drive…
We left our camp earlier than usual, as we wanted to stop in at the Orpen shop. Our supplies of celebratory biltong were almost gone, and this was cause for alarm… quite incredible that we’d managed to knock off a kilogram of biltong already… the sign of a successful trip to Kruger!
After purchasing the supplies we needed, we had a quick stop-off at the Orpen Watering Hole – the location of the Orpen Webcam. It was nice to see a wilderbeest and some warthogs at the watering hole.
We then headed down the familiar route of the H7, then the (gravel road detour) S106 – back to the H7.
We didn't see too much on the gravel road – I think it was still a bit warm for the animals; they all seemed to be hiding.
We did see the giraffes that seemed to be hanging around as they crossed in front of us and another car:
Back on the tar road (H7) – we came across the waterbuck again, near the turn-off to the Bobbejaankrans Lookout.
And a little further down the road, a troop of baboons were foraging, with one of their troop on lookout duty:
We didn't stay with them too long – we were keen to start heading down the Timbavati Road…
We were hopeful that we may see the Wild Dogs that had been there earlier, but we knew our chances were slim. It had been about 5 hours since they were spotted by the couple we spoke to, and they move so far so fast…
But we had to give it a go
We drove along for a good 8 minutes before we came across our first car – heading in the opposite direction. We slowed down but they kept going on past us.
Not long after, a second car did the same, and I said to Mork – “I don’t think the Wild Dogs are there any more Mork, otherwise one of those cars would have pulled over to tell us where they were…”
We were a bit disappointed, but not surprised really.
We drove down a few of the off-shoots (towards the river) – and on the third one we saw these crocs sunning themselves on the opposite side of the river:
They looked pretty big and we hadn't seen any crocs on this trip yet – so another tick for the sightings list
Back to the Timbavati Road, and we passed another two cars heading in the opposite direction. Again, both drove past without stopping. We were happily chatting away when a red car approached us, with a lady waving out of her window, so we stopped to have a chat.
She told us the words we want to hear:
“At exactly 6km up this road – there are Wild Dogs… we’ve been sitting with them for 2 ½ hours, they are just resting… just stay on this road and exactly 6km from here you will see them… you can’t miss them, they’re sleeping on and by the road… there’s a lot of different types of vultures there too… good luck!”
We wanted to kiss her – thank you kind lady!!! And how incredibly lucky are we!?!?!?!?!
So off we went, big smiles on our faces – hoping they didn’t decide to get up and move after a long day of rest.
6km felt like 15km – but when we got there she was right, you couldn’t miss them:
They weren't doing much – most of them were snoozing in the grass, however one of the doggies was most unhappy with one of the vultures, and it spent all of its time chasing the vultures away.
Eventually the vulture managed to grab a small snack before the doggie could get to it… proving once again that persistence pays off.
We sat with them for ages… it must have been a good 2 hours – before my bladder and the Tom Tom both told us it was time to go.
The dogs weren’t going anywhere in a hurry.
By the time we left, two cars had turned up – but for the first hour and a half, we had them to ourselves.
We were BEAMING! I mean, really REALLY beaming… I had a ridiculously stupid grin on my face the whole drive back… half the time I forgot to even look out of the window properly, it was incredibly exciting.
And we ate every piece of biltong we’d just bought from the Orpen store… so pleased we made that purchase beforehand!
Back on the H7, we did notice our Waterbuck friends again. They hadn’t moved very far in the last two days.
We also had a lovely view on the drive back – it looked as though it was raining in the distance – over the mountains
When we got back to our tent, we weren’t in a big hurry to cook our dinner. We sat back and knocked off a few coldies – and looked both out on to the dry river bed, and through our photos of the Wild Dogs. We were still buzzing, it was so exciting.
We also started talking about Mork and his bloody ridiculous wish list – he’d actually succeeded in seeing in everything plus more in three days. Leopard, Cheetah and Wild Dog (plus the remaining Members of the Big Five) – all in three days… I made sure he knew he was one of the luckiest men alive.
Once we did settle into dinner, we were starving. It was a much later meal than usual – somehow that made it tastier.
It was hard to switch off again tonight – the lion started roaring again, and was quite adamant that this was his territory (as he didn’t stop for very long during the night).
Eventually I dozed off to sleep with the roaring noise… and was woken up by a different, strange sound the next morning… TBC