It has taken a while to write this as I know you will all know, it's horrible coming home and when I see anything on Africa on TV post trip it always makes me sad. As we were leaving the gate, the man asked when we would be back and I said hopefully soon, through tears mind you.
Hope you are ready for a tale.
Anyway, oh what an amazing 3rd trip, my SO's Mum came and I think she thought this was the norm. I always wear my lucky lion pants on our first day in the park and I swear for as long as I visit I will continue this tradition, because by god did they work this time. Our sightings truely must have been blessed by the gods, if I can work out how to post pics I will do, but highlights are as follows:
Countless lions - so many I can't even remember but I rember the key ones! Skukuza on H1 near Marula loop, 4 x male lions trying to chase down a young male intruder, had already attacked him and then they came running down the middle of the road after him, right past the cars and stuff.
H10 on route from oliphants to LS, not a car in site, two lionessses and young male cub, right in the middle of the road, all to ourselves, we were 20 mins away from the gate or so at 5.40pm, I was panicing that the gates would be locked, we then encountered two rhinos in the road and a elephants right at the gate that we had to swerve past - scary!
LS - about 14 of them just walking down the H4-1, in the day, so close to the car, that as I was filming, I realised they could have had my head off - truely breathtaking.
Biyamati - another pride, chewing on a warthog and then the lone male on the evening drive just wandering across the road.
I think this one was on the drive up from Skukuza to Tamboti, such amazing spots on the way that we missed the sunset drive and as it happens fate was not with me. I would give anything to see wild dogs and we got to Tamboti at 4pm so decided not to go on on the drive, they only saw 4 dogs 1 mile from camp at the end of the drive - argghhhhh.
Anyway as I was saying, drive up to Tamboti, leopard on S86, another with a baby warthog up a tree, then at Mazithi dam, we watched pride of lions chilling under a tree and a feisty young bull ellie coming towards them. He didn't care, waded right through the middle, they went for him, he went for them, then he went for the storks, then had a swim and then came at us!!! Time to depart.
Cheetah x 1, just past Marula loop, where we saw male lions attcking the intruder, chilling in a bush, then walked right out in front. OH spotted him, my teeth almost ended up on the dashboard when he braked.
Leopards - 8 sightings in total, some of the same one, but still can't complain. One on the S86, we had spotted him a couple of day prior and thought we would try again. Anyway, as we drove the loop we encountered a massive herd of ellies, can honestly say, I shit a brick, because then they came from behind the sides and we were penned in. They had young, so were trumpting and getting a bit feisty, spotted a narrow gap and shot through them, all this to spot the leopard again, minding his own under a bush. We got him all to ourselves. Another in LS, on the evening drive, just wandering down the road and then in the morning on a rock. Complete chaos, idiots out of their car, standing on the road, must have been about 30 cars, did my head in, so we drove on.
Drive down from Oliphants- 2 x ground southern hornbill near Nyamarhi Dam on H1-4 and then a black rhino, sunning itself under the tree and he just casually got up and walked to the water for a drink, must have watched him for 30 odd minutes, this was why we were almsot late getting into LS!!
More Black Rhino - morning walk at LS, amazing. Just got out the truck about a minute in and we heard all these ellies, trumpting going mad, they knew we were there, stupid girl with us ran, would have made for good entertainment I thought had something grabbed her!! Anyway, all this comotion going on, so ranger moved us in oppostite direction only to walk into a black rhino and her calf, so direction changed again and finally we got back to the truck. Truck had been smashed at the back by ellies, back seat skewered and a piece of tusk broken off!!
So what else did we see.... african wildcat, kori bustard, water mongoose x 3, large genet at Tamboti he came for the braai, civet, croc narrowly missed grabbing an impala at sunset dam, lions tracking a herd of buffalo at LS, my first klipspringer, countless birds of prey, warthogs in the Orpen camp. Lions waking us in the night and the honey badger at Tamboti, dogs barking just to taunt me, I will see you one day
You see now why I cried when it was time to go home. I will go back, I love it, it keeps me grounded and it is the only place I truely forget the rubbish around me and feel at peace.
A long wait but a 3rd trip in 2013 to look forward to:
15th Sept - Skukuza
16-17 - Tamboti
18 - Oliphants
19-20 - Lower Sabie
21 - Biyamati