Now that I've got Philip1, Trrp-trrrrrrrr, Cape of Storms, Surf Cindy, isinkwe, t-bal, Rooikat, Hilda, Mandinga. Meandering Mouse, Pumbaa and Melph68
on board I thought I would hire a truck so you would join my SO and I for a sunset drive out of Satara. You'll need to wear warm clothes as its going to be cold
Note the time - 4.55 p.m.
By 5.04 p.m. we came across this herd of elephants. They were in a hurry, moving rapidly towards the river - they started about 500 m away from us and crossed the road. I've never seen elephants on such a mission - there was no stopping to feed they just walked non stop.
The little ones at the rear were being urged on by their older siblings and a matriach at the back.
The last one across the road (the matriach at the back) couldn't resist a bit of a trumpet at the truck
(just to make sure we knew who was boss)
We all sat in the truck absolutely awed by the size of the herd (72 elephants the driver told us), and by the organized and orderly manner that they moved from what we presumed their feeding area to the river for a drink.
We watched for a few more minutes but they disappeared very quickly. If we had been 10 minutes earlier or later we would have missed them.
We continued on our way and in a few minutes and at 5.15.p.m came across a honey badger. He/she was so busy digging that we went completely unnoticed.
After digging for ages the honey badger found what it was looking for and proceeded to devour it.
Unlike the elephants who were a long way away the honey badger was right next to the road so we had a wonderful view.
Our driver pulled up next to another safari vehicle and that had a chat about things - the driver then took us to a waterhole. Apparently there had been a leopard there earlier but we couldn't find it.
We did disrupt this hippo in the waterhole and he took one look at us and decided he wanted to be out of the water. He just erupted out of the water on to the dry land and disappeared in a flash.
We drove for quite awhile spotlighting. We saw a serval, african wildcat and bush babies, but unfortunately my camera skills weren't up to getting photo's. Eventually on this drive a fellow Australian showed me how to take photo's without the flash - just taking advantage of the light from the spotty's. A bit too late for the serval and wildcat though.
By this time we had been driving for just over and hour when we came across these hyena cubs - also very cute. I had never thought of hyena's as being cute but these seemed to fit the bill.
Goodness we had had a wonderful drive.
Everyone on the bus was really happy - although we were disappointed that we hadn't seen the leopard near the waterhole - when "hey presto" just around the corner the driver finds this beauty in a tree. There was another leopard at the base of the tree as well but very hard to see (being hidden in the grass). I tried for ages to take photo's but they were all terrible as my flash wasn't reaching as far as the leopards. That's when my Aussie friend showed me what to do with my camera.
I only managed this one photo (that's anywhere near decent ) of the leopard before the truck left them to themselves.
We continued along for a few kilometres until we came to a herd of buffalo feeding in a riverbed.
I didn't take any photo's unfortunately as we could only see bits of them over the long grass.
On the way back to Satara we came across a lioness lying in the middle of the road. When we got close she staggered to her feet, and limped into the bush. She seemed to be carrying rather a bad injury. No photo's again as she was in front of the vehicle and I couldn't get a decent shot of her.
We spotted another hippo on the side of the road out feeding
We saw the hyena cubs again on the way back, but didn't stop.
Gosh what a wonderful drive. We got back to camp - went and had a late meal at the restaurant and went to bed after a really great day. We had seen the big 5, but as yet we still hadn't seen any cheetah - other than something we saw with our binoculars which people in other cars told us were cheetahs!!!
Tomorrow we drive to Skukuza. Our Granddaughter Kelly and her friend Esther (both from Australia) are meeting us there.
They have just spent 2 weeks as volunteers working at a cheetah rehab. place near Bloomfontein. They normally both work as volunteers (about 20 hours a week on top of their regular jobs) at an animal rehab. place in the Perth foothills. They are both supervisors teaching others how to care for injured and orphaned animals. They also work on a captive breeding program for our endangered animals e.g bilby's (a nocturnal rabbit like kangaroo that lives in our deserts).
They are spending 10 days in Kruger driving themselves around, and are spending 3 days with us in Skukuza.
In fact tomorrow night we will be going on a bush braai with them There will also a couple from England, and another couple from Italy at the braai. We all met via this forum - we put out a request for others to join us on the braai (to make up the required numbers) and that's how we met.
That's all for this day's TR.
To be continued