lion queen wrote:
, sorry got this little devil in me
OK, since I am being forced, and just now it might turn violent
So I will hijack my own TR and first give a daytrip report ... the pics are at home (I am at work like most people)
so will post them seperatly tonight. We saw 4/5 and you will not guess which one we missed out on .......
Background - My friend, which works on a Private lodge as a ranger, came to visit during his break. He really wanted to go to the park and was looking for someone to go along, and do the driving as he did that for a living. I took some convincing to go on a free trip to the KNP, especially after just coming back from a week trip
Man, I can lie, need to shake that habit quickly.
We left home at 04h30 sharp, Snacks packed and Cooler stocked, with as it turned out not enough "juice". We arrived at malelane gate at 05h20 and was let in excatly on time and was "processed" very efficiently. We decided to 1st visit Matjulu dam and then head to Croc bridge, the rest of the trip will be planned from there.
On the way to Matjulu, we saw Giraffe, Ellies and the normal Impalas. At the waterhole ther was nothing, or so we thought. We just left and not even 50m further there was the 1st Rhino of plenty for the trip. The lady was very far in and irritated by something, we could not figure out why or what. On the road back there was more Rhinoe and the ellies was now in the road, we obviously gave them right of way. They were actually very relaxed.
We got past them and headed down the the croc river road and up the timfene loop, we saw ... nothing.
Then back down and on the Croc river road again up Molombe loop and past Gardenia. Saw the usual Impalas, and then a Nice Rhino bull marking its territory.
We Continued on to Croc bridge, and saw all the usual suspects on the road - Elephant, Giraffe and Impala. No Zebra or Buffaloes yet. We did see a lot of raptors though. Tawny Eagles, bateleur, African Snake Eagle, Martial Eagle and then also some smaller birds, most notable the crested barbet, of which I will post a pic tonight. About 10 km from Croc bridge we got hit by a smell of note. We did not see the carcass, but there was some Vultures in the trees. We could however conclude that due the smell this was something big and has been dead for a while.
At the T-Juction, there was the regular Wildebeest and Warthogs as well as Zebra. The juice was forcing a quick pitstop at Croc bridge. We decided to head up to LS and then up the H10 to Nkumbe.
We were going along quite merrily with sightings of a lot of General game and more Tawny Eagles. Then ......
Cars Parked, we slowed down and started to guess. We had no idea what we in for .....
We some ears between some trees, and then it went something like this in the car...
Lion, no hyeana, no Cheetah, No leopard, no cheetah, no hyeana, NO DEFINETLY LEOPARD!!!!
The 1st in a while for me. We saw she was looking very intently in a direction and followed her stare to some impalas. The word then was : "OH, S..., SHE IS HUNTING, NO WAY!!" and then some more words that cant be put on a public forum. She dissapeared and the other cars started driving up and down searching. We found a nice spot with a clear view on the impalas, switched off the engine, took another cold one (only the 2nd)
and waited. The cars were coming and going and we received some stupid comments about being patient. We were rewarded!
Next moment we saw a white flicker and we had her, busy stalking. WHAT A SIGHT!!
If you did not know about her you will be very hard pressed to spot her. She made it to about 20m from the impalas and lied low, she just lied there for a good 10 minutes, while all other cars left. We were alone. IDIOTS!!!!
Next moment you just saw dust........
The impalas somehow spotted her and took off. SHAME, what a dejected figure she made out as she watched lunch running away.
We drove on when she dissapeared and found the impalas had stopped, and calmed down.
We thought she might have a second go but no such luck. Oh well, what a sighting nevertheless.
We saw nothing else up to LS, where we stopped and had a pitstop and refuel (the car, and the cooler as well )
We went to sunset dam, and the usual huge crocs and party of Yellowbilled storks was there. Then on to the H10, and on the bridge we slowed down looking at how full the Sabie river was and admiring the view. About 80% across, I managed to look up to the opposite bank and there she was, a very beautiful Lioness, and everybody waves at us as we try and show them.
she came down and we went to the end of the bridge. She then jumped on the bridge and started to cross, actually scraping against the car as she passed us. WOW!!! what a feeling having such a creature this close
we had now seen 4/5 and that was the way it would stay - no buffaloes, cant say that happens much.
The drive up to Nkumbe went smoothly, except for 1 incident. We were at Mlondozi, when the car behind us told us that at the turnoff where we were admiring some Blue Wildebeest, a serval ran right behind us and dissapeared
What luck, but thats how it goes. You only see what you are meant to see. Up to Nkumbe we saw - Ellies, impala, warthogs, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, kudus and a sleeping Rhino. While at Nkumbe a wonderfull experience - THE FIRST RAIN STARTED TO FALL
. This meant sighting got less, but who cares. We headed back to croc bridge, at again saw the same up to LS as the drive from there.
That is up to 500m from the bridge, a huge pileup of cars. LION, a male this time. We took up our position in the queue. He was softly calling and then went a lied down right next to the road, not caring about the cars. He suddenly stood up and hurriedly came back across the street, and towards us, then we saw why. A female coming out of the bush. they greeted and went to lie next to each other, obviously waiting for some privacy.
We let them have just that.
The road to croc bridge was quiet except for plenty of impala drinking from the puddles forming on the road. But it changed again .....
Another huge pile up of cars, in the exact same spot we saw the leopard earlier this morning
. NO, COULDN'T BE WE WAS PATIENT!! We slowly tried to make out way through the mess of cars (the only negative thing all day - traffic at 2 sightings). We saw everybody was looking on the opposite side from this mornings sighting.by now I have to mention we were 10km away from the gate, it was darker than usual due to the clouds and it was 17h30, gates close at 18h00. We were stoked and stressed at the same time. We managed to get closer and saw it was indeed a leopard
. She was very relaxed and then we saw her head go down. Is she eating? On the ground, not worried? THEN
, SHE IS NOT EATING, BUT LICKING. A CUB!!!! NO BIGGER THAN A HOUSE CAT!!! WOW, AT THIS STAGE WE WERE BEYOND OURSELVES WITH JOY. So happy we even botched the pics (rather my friend working with my camera, one he does not know how to operate), but I will still post as proof. It was the same one as this morning. What an end to a perfect day. It did turn out to be our last sighting, as we had to do 50 just to be at the gate on time. We made it with 5 minutes to spare, so many cars would not have been in time.
The day started of great(Raptors, Rhino, Ellies), and then got better (Leopard hunting, Lion crossing the bridge), and better(lions interacting) and ended with a bang (leopard sighting with cub). I want to end by saying one thing - I AM VERY BLESSED TO BE SO CLOSE TO A PLACE THAT CAN OFFER SUCH AMAZING MOMENTS, TRUELY BLESSED!!! THANK YOU!!!!
Will post the pics tonight .....till then
Sjoe, that was a lot of typing!!