Awesome pictures and I loved reading your stories and sightings.
I was able to take my husband to Africa for his first time. Having grew up in S.Africa I knew I wanted us to spend a good majority of our time in KNP. So we did about 21 days in the park and drove from Punda Maria to Berg-en-Dal and did both the Sweni and Napi Trails and a night drive, morning drive, sunset drive, 2 morning walks. We were fortunate to see so many animals...our favourite memories were...
1. After crossing Punda Maria gate and heading to camp, not even 10 minutes and we saw 3 bull elephants beside the road...needless to say my husband was extactic
2. Couple days later we were surrounded by a herd of about 100 elephants. Talk about an adrenaline rush. BTW we couldn't believe how many elephants there are in north KNP...we saw elephants about every few hours!
3. Sweni Trail - while on foot our ranger spotted a cat (approx 200m) about to cross our path up ahead...we all ran up to a unsuspecting leopard and got to about ~50 m of her. Fortunately it was windy and she had no idea we were there!
4. Sweni Trail - that afternoon we stalked some lions on foot; we had spotted them in the jeep in the morning. Came across two waterbuck carcasses they had ate from the night before (thank god!) and then walked up on 2 male lions sleeping about 15 m away. Again the impending wind storm allowed us to sneak up.
5. Sweni Trail - 3 black rhino spottings (1 on foot), honey badger
6. Napi trail - black rhino and calf by foot; giraffe birth sighting in the jeep (didn't watch the whole birth as it would have been dark)
7. Napi trail - leaving Napi for Pretoriuskop and I spotted 2 male cheetahs on an anthill!
8. Second leopard spotting...this one is actually funny. We noticed a car stopped ahead and passenger standing outside of his window looking over at drivers side inside this culvert ditch crossing. We asked what he saw and he said "tiger, tiger" (not knowing much english) and then drove off. We couldn't see anything but waited and out popped a leopard he walked about 5 m from the car and caused quite a traffic jam! I love our "tiger" spotting story.
9. Did a sunset drive by Berg-en-dal in the rain. Came across a pack of wild dog which made the crappy weather worth it! I also spotted a genet in a tree on our way back to camp.
10. Our last day in KNP (at Berg-en-dal)....After 2 days of rain and very limited animal spotting (apparently the animals also don't like the rain!)...once the rain stopped all the animals came out to play...we spotted a serval at high noon (was probably starving from not being able to catch anything during those rainy cold days), then in the afternoon back to camp with about 1 hour before gate closing we saw baboons on the road...yes we stopped! when you don't see much for two days you'll stop for anything
... then elephants, tons of white rhino, came across a pride of lions on the road, hyena cubs, a caracal, and a LIT. It was crazy how many animals we saw in 1 hour!
The caracal was awesome as it dashed onto the road up ahead of me (~100m) and then stopped when it saw me. I too stopped and crawled to about 20m from it. He let us watch him until another car approached and then dashed off.
I can go on and on...needless to say we far exceeded our expectations...I told my husband before we went, that we'd be lucky to see a leopard or cheetah while in KNP since they're so rare.
This has been our best adventure to date and can't wait for our next trip back to Africa!