I've had the fortune of seeing buffaloes as a first sighting as I entered Malelane gate over the bridge.
Same scene repeated itself at Paul Kruger gate entrance over the bridge buffs feeding in the reeds and some just resting on the islands between.
Also inside the park proper at the Malelane entrance I happened upon an elephant as my first sighting just feeding off the road on another occasion.
This April I entered via Phabeni gate and just as you exit the booms into the park proper on your right hand side there seems to be a sort of dry river bed.
Lucky to see a herd of elephants feeding here as my 1st sighting
But my most memorable first sighting will have to be April 2008.
Travelling alone from Joburg I was pushed for time just to make it to the park before gate closing time.
I was booked in at Pretoriuskop and headed for Numbi gate.
Made it I think literally under 10 mins before gate closing time.
Being winter it gets dark fairly quickly.
By the time I had finished up all the paperwork at the gate and a stop to the loo etc it was really dark - nightfall.
So approached reception and asked that am I going to be escorted to camp and to my surprise I was told no its fine you can go by yourself.
Always thought that once its dark you need to be escorted.
Maybe they were short staffed I don't know :huh:
Nonetheless I was thrilled to be going alone as I know from previous experience when you escorted you can't really stop for a sighting.
So I kept by fingers crossed and headed into the park.
I must admit it is eerie and disorienting driving around alone in complete darkness with not a single vehicle to be seen.
By now all day visitors were out of the park.
I excitedly continued hoping that maybe I will get to see at least something.
A few hundred metres before the S10 junction I had seen eye shine ahead having had my brights on.
Not expecting much more than an impala I approached slowly and switched off my brights.
There it lay sleeping in the road.
I could not believe my eyes.
Relaxed without a care in the world. A young female LEOPARD !!!
She just sat there looking at me.
I scrambled around for the camera but realised it was in the boot and just sat back and enjoyed the sighting.
I watched her for about 3 minutes after which I decided to angle the car so as to have more light on her.
This was her cue to move off.
She got up and melted into the long grass.
But left me with a memory that will stay with me for along time