Sadly now back at work (time to save for next trip), but towards the end of Nov was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Kruger. As I mentioned in a previous post, the S100 has never been kind to me so far and was hoping this would be the trip that turned the trick. Well…..
I drove the S100 at least 4 times, may have even been 5 and again it proved to enjoy tormenting me
I left the gate at Satara at 04.30 on the dot multiple times….and nothing. I tried it in the afternoon, and was the last car left on the road…and nothing
Of course I heard all about the sightings on the other roads that I would have normally taken, including cheetah and leopard kills, and at least two wild dog sightings
I imagine everyone has at least one road that hates them, and the S100 is mine!
On my last day in that area I again left early, and was stoked when the two vehicles in front of me turned left. So right from Satara I went trying to talk myself into one more S100 attempt. Now I don’t know about you guys and gals but I’m terrible for second guessing which way to go, and changing my best laid plans at the turnoff. Well as I got to S100, some strange urge said take the Nwanetsi road (H6) as this was the only place i’d ever seen cheetah in Kruger, and the S100 be damned! So with no small amount of dread I drove past old S100 and took the H6…
Now I have to say I found 8 hyena at a den on this road, and in the early light had them to myself as they played. Awesome sighting as I love hyenas, but have to admit I wanted cats. I took the S41 back towards the S100, and was rewarded with not one, but two civets. At first glimpse in the early light I half thought I was looking at the worlds smallest striped leopards! Ah wishful thinking.
Now back onto the S100 for what must have been at least the 10th time in total over 5 trips. When you’ve had no luck on a road, it only takes 5 minutes into the road to get that sinking feeling again, and sure enough here it came again. Now don’t get me wrong, I love seeing all the animals and the scenery on the S100 is beautiful. But after so many failed attempts, and always hearing about the amazing predator sightings I was quietly begging any one of a hundred various gods for a little help
Then with just 4kms left till I was back on the tar, a small traffic jam ahead put all senses on full alert. Three cars appeared to be parked under a very big tree, and my brain screamed ‘Leopard’! I couldn’t see anything no matter how hard I tried (I am very experienced at looking hard at nothing in trees
). Eventually one car took pity on me, and the drivers first words were ‘ you shouldn’t have had that coffee this morning and been late out the gate, you just missed lions on a wildebeest kill’. Late out the gate??!! I must have been ahead of these people in the queue, but my fateful decision to take the H6 had come back to haunt me, and the S100 to taunt me once again!
Despite the gut wrenching pain of having missed the kill, the S100 did provide a small mercy however. Whilst the lioness’s had dragged the kill behind an embankment and were out of sight, the driver kindly told me the 3 adult males were sleeping right across from me under the bushes on the plains side. At last I had my S100 lions, 3 magnificent (if very sleepy) male lions. 2 decided I was not worth getting out of bed for, but one very blonde maned fella moved into the open allowing an awesome view. The other cars left, and I had 15 minutes (engine off of course) of pure heaven watching the lions, listening to the sounds of the bush. If you didn’t know where to look you’d drive straight pass them, even though they were only 10m from the road. it makes you wonder how many times you must have done exactly that. When the next cars arrived, they seemed perplexed at what on earth I was looking at. I got quite a chuckle and a big smile, at quietly telling them where the lions were and watching their reactions, especially the kids
So to conclude, the S100 and I still don’t really get along (I can’t help but think of it as a girl playing hard to get, lol), but perhaps we’ve seen the first thawing in a frosty relationship. And who knows where it will go next time? Leopard, cheetah, more lions? I’ll keep my fingers crossed. And oh yeah, I saw a honey badger on the last km of the S100 too S100 lion
, on Flickr