Well since the page has turned are there any objections to me continuing???? OK here we go.Day 6 Part 4A - The Sunset Drive:
So we met at reception as scheduled to begin our Sunset Drive. I was very excited when I walked out to the truck and saw Irving standing there. Irving is the Head Guide at Satara and was previously the Head Guide at Lower Sabie. We did a night drive with him at Lower Sabie several years ago and it was one of the most memorable experiences ever. The sightings were decent on the trip, but what made it so special was Irving's ability to get everyone involved and share his love of the bush.
Unfortunately, Irving told me he would not be our guide on this trip....
Our Guide was Martin. He was very good and interacted well with the group. He pulled out of camp and stopped a short distance outside the gate to go over the rules. And then we were on our way. We were really hoping for Lion. We still hadn't had a good Lion sighting and we were definitely in Lion country.
A short distance into the drive we saw Elephant
And Vervet Monkey
Martin was very knowledgeable and informative and would stop and talk about whatever animals we were seeing. He was also very considerate of everybody getting a good view and would move the vehicle as necessary.
As we approached the Sweni Bridge we could see several cars stopped on the bridge. The anticipation started building as we got closer. I was secretly willing the vehicle to go faster so we could get there before whatever it was disappeared.
No need for that though. When we arrived a gentleman told us that there were four cheetah chilling in the riverbed. Fortunately we were in one of the larger vehicles so we could see over the tops of the other vehicles that were stopped. Sure enough there were four Cheetahs lounging around in the river bed. Martin said it was getting to the time where they would get up and start moving so we watched and waited.
I couldn't believe it. We had the great sighting this morning of the cubs and now this....
We talked with some of the other people on the drive about our cub sighting and learned that there were actually 5 cubs in that family. The other two must have been with mom and we just didn't get to see them. I was now in total disbelief. As I've mentioned, my Cheetah sightings in Kruger have been virtually nil and now these great sightings all in one day. WOW!!!!
We had only been there for a few minutes when we saw an Elephant approaching the riverbed. Martin laughed and told us to watch because the Elephant would chase the Cheetah away. Not a minute later, the Elephant started trumpeting and charging and chased the Cheetah away. I wish I would have been taking video instead of still photographs, because you have to hear it as well as see it to get the full essence of what happened. It was amazing!
Sorry for the creepy eyes. The red eye tool in photoshop isn't fixing them and I haven't figured another way yet. I am new to Photoshop and just ordered a book to try and learn more.
The Cheetah didn't go far and remained on the far side of the riverbank until the Elephant went on his way. We then saw the most incredible display from the Cheetah, but I am going to put that in its own episode(s). It was just too cool to limit to one or two pictures.
We crossed the bridge and literally within 50 meters of the bridge were more cars stopped and they told us there was a Leopard in a tree. After a lot of moving backwards and forwards and side to side, we finally got a glimpse of its tail. So Leopard sighting number 3, but still no photographic proof.
So on we go with our sunset drive. Somewhere alon the way we came across a very healthy looking White Rhino
And a nice sunset
And we capped the drive off with a Chameleon.
We also saw Genet, and had another sighting of Cheetah. It was most likely one of the same Cheetah we had seen earlier, but it was far off, was moving, and it was really dark so we didn't get any more pictures.
Everyone was impressed with Martin and would certainly recommend him again. The drive was so awesome that an Amarula nightcap seemed the most fitting way to celebrate.
Stay tuned for more special Cheetah interaction.....