Thursday, October 2, 2014

On Safari With Karen From 26 September 2014

26 September 2014

Today we set off fully loaded as all 9 guests joined me on the full day game drive. It wasn't cold this morning, but a bit of overcast gave us hope for some good sightings. We started of with a duiker on camp road. He was shocked we stopped for him. So much so he stood frozen for a while before running away. Just long enough for some pictures though.

Then we followed Numbi tar and Napi where once again we spotted two harems of zebras, the giraffe mum and her baby we saw on the first day were reunited,  and some impalas. What followed was lots of road with bush on the side with animals hiding out of sight. In other words we saw nothing for a long time.

Then a car had stopped on the side of the road. We joined them and saw a lovely white rhino bull grazing quite close to the road. However the people in the car weren't looking at him. We followed their gaze and there sat a leopard under a tree! Once again we had a white rhino sighting with a leopard behind him. But this time the leopard was better visible, as he got up and slowly walked to a termite mount and lay down. We lost visual for a bit but then he got up again and walked back where he came from to another termite mount. Then he completely went down and we lost visual once again. This time he stayed put, so we continued our drive.

After all the excitement of following the leopard, seeing him, losing him, seeing him again (and unfortunately for some, not seeing him at all), it was quiet all the way till Skukuza. Here we stopped for coffee, where the rumors were also floating around that there were lions on the river.

So after the break we set off in that direction. We passed a lovely nyala bull, lots of impalas, a giraffe in riverbed. When we arrived at high level bridge, where the lions were reported, there was a traffic jam ahead of us. Slowly we moved up the bridge, seeing 22 hippos resting in the water and on the sand, a goliath heron flying away and then finally 4 lions under a bush in the shade and a little further two out in the open on the sand. One by one those two got up and walked to the shade just when we were at the exact right spot to see.

We didn't want to get through the traffic jam again, so we continued down Marula tar. Here we enjoyed sightings of buffalos, a group of nyala females and lots of impalas before a small group of elephants crossed in front of us. There were many herds already down in the riverbed drinking and even some big bulls on the opposite side.

Then we heard an angry elephant in the bush and decided to wait a little longer to see of more were coming out. And we were rewarded! A herd of another 20 elephants crossed in front, together with a lot of youngsters and even a little baby that hadn't learned yet what to do with a trunk. The little thing was just dangling in front of him while he walked underneath the bellies of the mother and the aunties. He was so cute! We waited till the last elephant had crossed. This grandmother was at the end of her lifespan and she was showing so. Her entire body language was saying she had lived long enough.

After watching the elephants we suddenly saw a marabou stork flying over. When we looked up, we saw one, and another one, and then another! We think we saw at least 35 of them suddenly circling down towards what is know as vulture beach. We tried to find an open spot to get a nice picture but everywhere the branches obscured our vision. But it was still an amazing sight.

Down at low level bridge over the Sand river and then later the Sabie river we saw some hippo heads sticking out of the water and a swimming crocodile. Then just before we turned off to Skukuza we discovered another leopard. Again obscured by branches but after staring for a while all of us had seen this one. He then got up and left us through the bushes out of sight. And we were off to Skukuza for a nice lunch break.

When we were back on the road the animals had decided we had had enough luck for today and they went into hiding. As it was hot and quiet we took a drive up Mathekanyane to enjoy the view while standing in a nice breeze.

We continued our way back down Napi, not stopping for a long drive. Near the end we noticed some new animals again: a warthog that decided it was to hot to run away or care about those humans in a car, a sable bull grazing far in the open fields at Shithave Dam, a steenbok couple hanging out with a reedbuck couple, an elephant herd hiding in between trees and some waterbuck. We finished our drive with the same mother and baby giraffe we saw early this morning.

It was the end of a long, hot but great day!

27 September 2014

This morning we split up again as some of us went on a bushwalk, while others preferred to come on a drive.

On the bushwalk they focused on the littler things of the bush. The guests enjoyed it very much. But this time they also encountered some big things. They had to stand still and wait for a while when being sniffed out by elephants. When they started walking in their direction some of them had a heartbeat that was a little faster than normal. However it all ended ok. They even saw a 1,5 meter snake skin of a black mamba on the way back.

On the game drive we also had a snake story to share, as we saw a fresh snake track across the Napi boulders. As a car just passed in front of us and there were no car tracks other than our own over it, we just missed it.

Furthermore, as we had taken a trip around Fayi Loop before driving to the Napi Boulders, we had also seen some nice groups of zebras, herds of impalas, kudus, and giraffes. At one sighting two duikers were hanging out with a herd of impalas. After having taken all the pictures, it was time to start the car. As predicted the two duikers sped off by hearing the sound, while 99% of the impalas raised their head in alarm. Oh and we also saw two male reedbucks fighting while the two females kept on grazing without having the slightest interest in the outcome.

Carrying on in the direction of Nkambeni Safari Lodge for the last time. We still saw a steenbok and a white rhino bull that had just crossed the road and not to forget, a full size herd of about 100 buffalos. This was a nice end to the tour, as it was time to say goodbye to seven of the guests. Thanks to Ina, Ton & Michel, Alex & Mike and Abhi & Shavhu (hope that is correctly spelled) for joining us on this safari and hope all of you have a great time on the rest of your travels, may it be one day, a few or another week!! Enjoy!

In the afternoon my two remaining guests, Bill & Sherry, joined in with Curtis' two guests to go on another game drive. He has to write that update ;)

More coming soon!!

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