14th December 2012
This really would be our last day in the Park for this trip and despite the fact that we should be packing up, we just had to spend a few more hours in the Park! We dashed up to Phabeni, a quick flash of our Wild Card and on we went.
In the river bed 2 Egrets and 2 Cormorants. A Dwarf Mongoose family were hiding at the side of the road but all were too shy for photos this morning. Next came Hoopoe,
Wildebeest, Kudu and Grey Hornbill. Turning onto the H11 we could see a few cars stopped at the side of the road. What would we see here this morning? Oh joy of joys it was a pack of Wild Dogs.
They are so special and we felt so privileged to be able to sit with them on our last day. They looked well fed and were happy sleeping very close to the road. Because they were down in the grass, it was only easy to see them if you were parked right next to them so we did not stay too long as the traffic jam was building rapidly and we did not want to hog the best spot. As I am sure I have mentioned before, we were visiting Kruger for 11 years before we ever saw Wild Dogs and the thrill each time we have seen them since has never diminished. What a privilege!
We were so hyped up, we actually drove past the turning to Lake Panic and decided to call in at Skukuza for breakfast with a short stop for some baboons antics.
Eager to see who else would be about to wish us farewell, we drove to the low water bridge and the Sand River crossing. Lots of birds searching for their own breakfast – Pied
and Giant Kingfisher,
Hamerkop, Egrets, Herons and a fine crocodile.
Heading northwards on the tar, we pulled into Leeupan where Jacana, Woolly Storks and White Faced Ducks were waiting for us.
We popped into Tshokwane for a quick comfort break and then headed south along the H10 to find more Rhinos
and Ground Hornbills.
Turning onto the S29 we caught up with a big group of Ostrich (male, female and all their youngsters) who were happily striding out along the road in front of us.
They seemed totally unconcerned that we were just behind them and with no other cars at all, we were able to spend quite a while with them.
A solitary Bull Elephant was on a mission close to the next junction
but we continued onto the S30, a road we have not driven along for a long time but we were rewarded with sightings of a Wahlberg’s Eagle,
Ground Hornbills and a charming Warthog family.
A quick call into Lake Panic to wish all our ‘friends’ goodbye until next time and back onto the tar heading west.
Just a few kms down the road, we were amazed to find the pack of Wild Dogs were still sleeping by the road.
They must have been exceedingly well fed and replete to spend so long in the one spot. As we pulled over to get a few last pictures of them, a vehicle pulled up alongside us bearing a YR. Our final YR for our trip – Kaapsedraai and his family. It was a pleasure to meet you all and we wish you a fantastic trip when you return this year – I think we will miss each other by a few days this time but have a wonderful time.
The afternoon was passing all too quickly and, however reluctantly, we knew we really had to get back and get our packing done. I’m sure we cannot be the only people who put this off for as long as possible in the hope that we won’t really have to leave.
Our final sightings as we crossed the river just before Phabeni Gate were a Malachite Kingfisher, Cormorant, Little Egret,
Hamerkop and Green-backed Heron.
So that, my friends is the end of our TR. We had a truly amazing time, fabulous sightings, lots of new friends and both body and soul well cherished. Thank you to everyone who has shared our journey and I promise I will write our next TR as soon as possible when we return home in December 2013.