Thursday, December 18, 2014

On safari With Karen From 13 December 2014

13 December 2014

The last safari of 2014 and I picked up the guests in Nelspruit. A leisurely drive through the plantations up to Numbi Gate where we entered the Kruger National Park. Our first drive was down Numbi tar where just outside the parking lot we saw two woodlands kingfishers having a colourful display of their wings and their voices to impress a female. We drove down to Pretoriuskop, underway seeing our first impalas, kudus and a leopard tortoise.

After a spot of lunch we continued our drive. This time we found a hinged tortoise just outside Pretoriuskop before we turned onto Napi. Here we saw our first baby impala as a small group of impalas was hanging out with vervet monkeys. As Carol loves the birds, we had some nice photographs taken of a European roller, a lilac breasted roller, a bateleur flying over and a helmeted guineafowl. We stopped briefly at Shithave Dam to admire the large group of waterbucks, including some males with impressive horns. The resident hippo was in no mood to entertain as he only briefly showed his nostrils.

While we continued on Napi we saw some nice zebras coming out through the bushes, a black-bellied bustard,  a red-crested korhaan, a warthog, giraffes and a couple of elephant bulls. Our next sighting of vervet monkeys was quite entertaining as a woodlands kingfisher was attacking one of them. He came from the top of the tree and probably had either found a nest and came to close or actually raided the nest as the kingfisher had a right go at him. And not just with sounds, she was dive-bombing and at one time actually hitting the vervet monkey!

We took a drive up Watergat where we spend about 30 minutes watching aweaver colony building their nests and trying to impress females. Forktailed drongos nearby were actually mimicking the sound of the weavers. It was a busy road as we saw some more zebras, multiple steenboks, quite a few elephant bulls, grey louries, warthogs, a lone ground hornbill hanging out with impalas a blue wildebeest and actually two lions. The lions were boring though as they were both playing dead, or at least sound asleep for the 30 minutes we sat watching them.

Down Doispane and then Kruger road we encountered a journey of giraffes that was quite as interested in us as we were in them so we spend some time watching each other. But the longest time we spend watching this herd of elephants. The elder adults were calmly feeding, but the youngsters were portraying their learned behavior and trying to do as the adults. It resulted in a youngster which had still no tusks, trying to dig in a little mount of dirt. And a baby trying to grab a little branch of a bush but not really knowing yet how. A baby that was a tat older actually managed to break off a little piece and ran to mommy to show its good work, then showing it around before dropping it as if it had lost its fun to play with. Two other youngsters were constantly pushing and shoving each other as two kids playing in the playground having fun. Well, we had an amazing time watching this show. Until the matriarch said it was enough and the herd started disappearing in the distance.

On the last stretch to Skukuza, our camp for tonight, we also saw some kudus and nyala bulls. While checking in the collared sunbirds were hanging around in the garden as we could hear plenty of other birds preparing for the night.

14 December 2014

This morning it was just getting light and we were already out of the gate! The marabou stork on top of the tree must have thought we were mad, if he knew, because he was still asleep. Later on we saw one that was actually awake and already preening itself for a new day. We drove towards the river and suddenly movement on the right of the road made us stop: porcupines!! A male was having all his quills up and trying to impress a female. She wanted none of that though, and took a run for it. The male in hot pursuit! It was a brief but rare and amazing sighting!

Just around the corner two hippos were crossing the road on their way to their beds in the water. When we got to the low level bridge over the Sabie, we saw some water birds like a giant kingfisher, a colony of masked weavers, Egyptian goose and pied wagtails as well as three hippos that were already asleep in the shallow water. At the bridge over the Sand river we were distracted by a beautiful sunrise.

On Marula tar we found our first giraffe of today, for whom it was too early as well. He was still having a snooze and lying down for it as if not a care in the world for the cars. The second giraffe was already up, but not very active. She just stood admiring the sunrise, or that’s what it looked like. A male baboon in a nearby tree was snoozing just as well. Two Cape buffalo bulls crossed the road towards the water and we saw a hooded vulture and two common grey duikers before we turned towards the high level bridge back over the Sabie.

We noticed a few cars standing on one side of the road and suddenly we were looking at two lions. Even though they were lying down, these lionesses were at least a little more active as the ones we saw yesterday, as one was licking the other. We watched for a while and then continued on our way, stopping for two whitebacked vultures in a tree and a small group of nyala females. On the bridge we noticed a hippo feeding down below and while watching him a troop of baboons showed up. We got some nice shots of baboons sitting on the railing close by as well as sitting in the road facing the sun, grooming each other, a male playing with himself (uhuh), a female having to do her call of nature, and little ones playing. The impalas hanging around there didn’t mind any of it, neither did the hippos that were already asleep in the water.

On the way back to Skukuza we saw plenty of impalas, including many babies, hadeda ibisses, a lone male bushbuck and plenty of birds: blackbacked puffback, Jacobin cuckoo, guineafowls, little bee eaters, woodlands kingfishers, Burchell’s coucal and a subadult fish eagle. We also had a close encounter with a few giraffes. Three females and two youngsters were feeding on one side of the road while a large male was watching them on the other. The fact that we had stopped in between was not a problem as he could easily look over the car. In fact, he was so close he didn’t fit in the picture as he was too big. On the other side one female was feeding of an acacia with her bum on the road so close that we could count her ticks (many)! In the end the male chose to cross the road in front of us and joined the group of females.

We had our breakfast at Skukuza while watching a water monitor below the deck of the restaurant and then we packed up and left for our last game drive, aiming for the exit. Before we left Skukuza however we already saw some wildlife as a family of banded mongoose was foraging in between the bushes around our huts. We took a drive down Napi with a stop at the lovely viewpoint Mathekanyane. As the day was already getting quite hot, we then had a relatively quiet drive with the occasional impalas, kudus, a steenbok, a european bee eater, white-browed robin-chat, and a lovely herd of elephants standing in the shade flapping their ears, before we noticed two white rhinos lying under a tree quite close to the road. Not disturbed by us or any of the other cars coming up behind us they lend themselves for some wonderful rhino close ups. We also noticed a family of five ground hornbills in a tree. One was holding up a worm, maybe for the youngster to come get it or saving it for later. Whatever it was, he wasn’t letting it go.

Just before we exited at Numbi Gate we encountered a Kruger-style roadblock of a massive bull elephant in the middle of the road. Calmly we waited until he had is fill from the grass on the side of the road and decided to walk away. It signaled the end of our last safari of 2014, as we drove down to Nelspruit. Here we said goodbye to Carol and Natalie, who were off to Jo’burg and then back to the UK. It was lovely to have you on this safari, and maybe we will see you again one day!

That’s the end for 2014 see you next year!!!

On safari With Curtis from 10 December 2014

10 December 2014

This morning we immediately bumped into two bull elephants crossing the road and then we saw impala and kudu until we got to shithave dam. Here we found giraffe, zebra and buffalo all close to one another and at the dam itself the hippo, a crocodile sunning itself and Waterbuck.

We carried on and had a great rhino sighting. Four rhinos right next to the road and out in the open. It was such a lovely sighting we spent more than thirty minutes with them as they ignored all the cars and just grazed.

Further along we spotted two hyena lay down flat on some rocks only occasionally looking up as the cars drove by. We had more impala, giraffe, zebra as well as warthog and a steenbok up to Transport dam which was buzzing with birdlife but no large mammals with the exception of the hippo family.

We then made our way up to matekenyane view point where you can get some lovely scenic photos on a nice sunny day and it was up here where I got a tip off about some wild dogs. As soon as everyone had got enough photos we went straight to the tip off and we were in luck as the dogs hadn't moved. We counted seven in total however there could have been more hidden as they were not in a very energetic mood this morning. Apart from a couple who got up and moved around the rest stayed put.

When we left the dogs it was getting late in the morning so we headed for some breakfast

After out pit stop we headed back to our restcamp along the way finding nice giraffe and zebra sightings, impala, kudu, buffalo and rhino. We also had a great sighting of elephant as well, initially we just saw four together but as we hung about watching these four more and more appeared from the bushes and crossed the road in front and behind us. We then watched as a group of seven walked to the shade of a big tree turned around, so heads faced out, and started sleeping. We watched for about forty minutes as we saw more elephants appear before we left them and went into camp for lunch.

This afternoon we went out for a short drive around, immediately finding another herd of elephants as well as seeing more impala, kudu, waterbuck, steenbok, buffalo and rhino. We also found a very nice dark chanting goshawk sat on a termite mound getting an early dinner of termites.

11 December 2014

Unfortunately we had come to the last day of this particular tour but we still had time for one last drive. We started out very early, in fact so early we found the helmeted guinea fowl only just waking up from their roosts with a few flying down to the ground.

Once on Napi we found plenty of impala herds and kudu along with a lone waterbuck. As we progressed we found plenty more general game until we got to flat rocks where we found the hyenas. Much more active this early in the morning as three adults were all out and about walking out in the road. We also saw a youngster run across the road before disappearing into its den.

More general game and then probably the sighting of the day. Three rhino, mum and calf as well as an adult male. We sat and watched and it soon became apparent that this was no friendly trio. The male had amorous intentions towards the female but she had other ideas. Plenty of snorting and still her message had failed. After about fifteen minutes she had had enough. If softly tactics were not to work then she made it pretty clear what she wanted as she chased the male away. She then moved off with her calf in tow.

Later on we came to the end of a leopard sighting, I say the end as that is exactly all we saw of it. Just one of the guests saw the fleeting glance of the leopard as it moved into the undergrowth.

Suddenly it was that time everyone dreads, time to leave the park and head back to Nelspruit. Sandra and Gillian it had been great having you on safari, safe travels back to Ireland and hopefully we see you back on safari one day.

More coming soon!

Monday, December 15, 2014

On safari With Curtis from 8 December 2014

8 December 2014

The start of a new tour and after meeting my two new guests in Nelspruit we headed down along the 40 to Numbi gate,  after sorting out permits it wasn't long before we found our first animal, a nice bull elephant all on his own just about ten meters from the road. We followed him for a while before he got bored with us and moved out of sight. Next up was impala, just a single lady with no sight of her herd but I reassured my guests that it wouldn't be the last one we saw. Down at mestal dam the hippo's were getting fairly vocal and active all in preparation for a nights grazing. We also had a group of waterbuck around the waters edge. We then found a bateleur which had just landed in a tree. Turning on to Shabeni link we found a nice family of dwarf mongoose scurrying around by the side of the road and then just a little further down zebra and impala, then as we looked around we noticed a lone warthog and three wildebeest also at the sighting. Plenty more zebra and impala followed. As we headed into Pk, our rest camp for this tour, we spotted a common duiker who quickly ran off and a herd of kudu as well.

A lively start to this tour so far!!!

9 December 2014

So today we started off nice and early straight down the Napi, to begin it was quiet although we did see buffalo and elephant, all the sightings were either from a distance or obscured by trees and grass.

As we moved on we did find a large bull elephant further up the road which was walking towards us. It didn't take too long for us to notice the strong odour of an elephant in musth and as he got closer we could see the constant dribbling of urine on his back legs. We stood our ground as he moved closer, first as he moved to the front of the vehicle and then he moved round to the side, ears right out making himself as big as possible.

As he edged closer I decided he was close enough and let him know that that was enough and he should back down which he did. We watched him as he tried to exert his dominance for about ten minutes before he moved a bit further away and we could drive off safely. Only for him to take this as a sign of weakness and we saw him chasing after us for a few meters before he had decided enough was enough.

We had sightings of zebra and Warthog before we got to Transport dam which was quiet with the resident hippos being the only mammals. But if you can't find mammals look at the birds and there is plenty at the waters edge. African fish eagle, African jacanas, blacksmith lapwings, egyptian geese and white faced ducks just to name a few.

We drove into skukuza for a spot of breakfast and a little bit of souvenir shopping before heading down to lower sabie, the river was also quiet today for the first section although we found plenty of impala down here. We also saw plenty of hippos, a few buffalo, Bushbuck as well as vervet Monkeys and baboons. Just as we were approaching our lunch stop we came to a gathering of cars. This usually indicates something and it did this time. Two lionesses and a lion sat just a couple of meters from the road in the shade of the trees. We also saw a second male cross the road behind but he disappeared quickly. After a while the other three also moved off into the bush.

Luck was with us now as just a couple of kilometers further down the road we found a leopard up in a tree. Our timing was perfect as just minutes later he jumped down and vanished.

We moved on spotting more hippos and buffaloes before finding loads of crocodiles at sunset dam as well as impala and a mud bathing warthog.

After lunch I decided to go a different route home so we crossed the sabie river. As we did we found more crocs, big and small and very small, Marsh terrapins, a Bushbuck and a large hippo out of the water. Looking at the scars on him he had been in quite a violent fight.

We took a drive down salitje which although quiet gave us a few very nice sighting including a nice herd of zebra along with young foals, a solitary giraffe right next to the car, a family herd of elephants, a couple of bateleur and also southern ground hornbills.

Back on the tar along the river we had two very nice sightings, the first our second leopard of the day, we noticed him as he popped out of the tree line and he crossed in front of the car before moving out of sight on the other side only to reappear briefly giving us a second look at him.

The second nice sighting was a family of elephants with a very small calf, probably less than a year old. They were happy to keep eating by the side of the road for ten minutes allowing for lots of photos.

We turned back onto Napi and found giraffe and impala, we also found leopard tortoise and a chameleon making his way over the road. He certainly took his time but he was also considerably quicker than the giant land snails we found later. We also found a couple of hyenas close to their den taking an afternoon siesta before we got back to Pk.

More coming soon!!

On Safari With Karen From 5 December 2014

5 December 2014

After the pick up of two new guests at Phabeni Gate we spotted some buffalo in the Phabeni River. On our way to Nyamundwa Dam we stopped for a large leopard tortoise. Here we took pictures and sat talking about him for some time. When it was time to move on we started the engine and suddenly this leopard half fell half jumped out of the tree right next to us on the other side! We had not noticed him at all through the foliage of the tree and while we were watching the leopard tortoise he was most definitely watching us. We don't like to stress out or scare wildlife but if it wasn't for the start of the engine he would have gone unnoticed by all! Now we all saw him running away for about 50m in to the bush and then stop and look back. He then slowly disappeared deeper into the bush.

Before reaching Nyamundwa we saw plenty herds of impalas, breeding herds as well as a large bachelor group. At Nyamundwa Dam a fish eagle was sitting in a tree, but more interesting were the two hippos showing off their large teeth in the water and the buffalos on the waters edge not being impressed at all. We tried taking pictures of the lightning in the background, but the two seconds you're not ready, is when lightning strikes!

Then we made our way down on Albassini, trying to be at the lodge before the storm really would break loose. We did see more impalas, but the quietness of animals helped us getting close to our goal. But not close enough: with about 10km to go we saw the rain coming along the road. A quick stop to put our ponchos on and we braved the rain on the last stretch home. It signaled the end of a long day for some as well as the start of a new safari for others.

6 December 2014

This morning we left with only half the group as it was raining quite heavily. As we had such a good day yesterday, not everyone was keen to get wet before they would go to the airport. With the brave ones loaded we set off and had a fruitless quiet drive on camp road and then Numbi tar. In fact we didn't see a single animal until we got to Circle Road. Here on Manungu Koppies we saw a troop of baboons as well as two klipsrpingers. There were more baboons walking alongside the road and we got some good shots of them.

Around the corner an impala was nursing her newborn baby. It looked only a couple of hours old, still fragile, but already alert next to its mother. Soon it would be introduced to the rest of the herd. A beautiful waterbuck bull was lying in the grass nearby to ruminate. A grey duiker further along the road had no patience for photos and had run off before we could aim cameras.

On Fayi Loop then we came across a new species of this tour in the form of two reedbuck at one of the drainage lines, while waterbuck were lying nearby and kudu on other side of the road.

Then we got to see a herd of elephants up close and personal. When we first noticed them they were deep in the forest. They were spread out foraging and we were hoping for a better view so we decided to hang around. Then suddenly a giraffe popped out in front of us. While we angled the car to get a better shot of the giraffe, while keeping an eye on the elephants, the giraffe moved off on the other side and the elephants started emerging out of the bush. With at least four paths to choose from that would let the elephants cross the road around us without us hindering, one of the females decided she wanted this one particular path we actually had blocked. As the herd ambled closer and closer she stood her ground on the path. Surprisingly they let a young baby elephant wonder within a meter of our car without supervision while an older one was stopped by its mother about 3 meters away. Now we had a stand off! With the elephants feed much to close to move the vehicle we were hoping she would change her mind voluntarily to take one of the other open paths. Especially since three elephants already had done so and we showed by sitting still we meant no harm. A few tense moments followed as the ten or so elephants very close to our right stopped feeding and all watched us. With baited breath we waited. And waited. What was 20 seconds felt like hours, when finally an older female resumed feeding and so calming the rest of them. Reluctantly the group then past right past the vehicle, one even sniffing the front bumper, but they crossed in front of us without harm. To show them we came in peace we gave them plenty of time to cross and resume feeding on the other side. They then used this liberty to cross back once more, and back, and back again! When they were at least 10 meters into the bush we decided to continue, giraffe long gone off course.

On our way out two young elephants had to show that they were still not liking us much by trumpeting loudly when we passed the spot. Once all had ended safely the big stories came loose in the vehicle!

Around Shabeni loop we didn't see more mammals but had a good look at a male red-collared widowbird, a crested barbet, a very pretty paradise whydah and then it started raining again. We made our way back along a very quiet Numbi road to Numbi Gate where it was time to say goodbye to Teddy, Pam, Duane, Shon, Gloria, Zane, Donna, Bob and Barbara.

Then together with the two remaining guests we decided to have an early lunch at Pretoriuskop before continuing on our safari. Upon exiting we saw a family of dwarf mongoose having a dig on the side of the road for food. They froze when the car stopped, letting us get some nice pictures. We also saw a leopard tortoise, and after yesterday's encounter immediately started scouting for a leopard but no such luck this time.

Along Napi in one of the drainage line we encountered three buffalo bulls. They didn't mind us at all, looking up briefly with vacant expressions before resuming their grazing activities. A steppe eagle was sitting in a tree nearby. Before Shithave Dam in the open area we noticed tree large elephant bulls. They were feeding along the road and we watched them come towards us. One started crossing behind us, but instead of actually crossing he then turned around and started challenging the other bull right behind him in line. Oh joy! After the close encounter this morning now they were actually starting a fight right behind our vehicle. Luckily this time the second elephant wasn't really in the mood to pick a fight and he kept moving away from us, the challenging bull following him with much bravado. After trying to pick a fight for 15min, and really, he tried hard, the second bull still didn't budge, he finally gave up. Or he was just hungry again as he resumed feeding. A black bellied bustard almost went unnoticed in the squabble!

We continued our drive spotting two white rhinos in the bush. Waiting for a better picture they kept on coming closer and closer, in the end almost right next to the car. Now that was a better picture! And furthermore we also saw multiple woodlands kingfishers, we passed a flock of whitebacked vultures and it was stinking like mad so they found a carcass to feed on, and more white rhino.

Up Watergat we found plenty impala, steenboks, beautiful kudu bulls, a lonely and rare and endangered ground hornbill, and a pair of woolly necked storks. However no cheetah or leopard, as people we passed told us were up this road. Apparently by the time we got there they had enough of lying around and moved off.

Down Doispane we encountered our first herd of buffalo for Shez and Victor. Half of them were crossing while the other half was still lying down ruminating. It looked like they had no intention to get up. We came across many zebras, vervet monkeys and a couple of wildebeest, as well as some daggaboys just before reaching Phabeni Gate.

Here we picked up Ian and Tony who joined us on safari and set off back on Doispane Road. Now with new guests on the truck we stopped for the same daggaboys, impalas,  and zebras, while unfortunately the vervet monkeys and wildebeest had moved off. However we got a large male warthog and lone bull elephant instead.

At the S4 turn-off we did see two fighting elephant bulls. This time they were indeed fighting but luckily in no proximity to the vehicle. The sounds of the clashing tusks was overwhelming as it looked like they were really going for it. As one was driven backwards uphill, he could fight back from his higher position. After a while they mad truce and with a headshake at each other they resumed feeding of the same bush.

While driving along the S4 - Riverroad - Krugerroad we saw a vervet monkey family with lots of babies as well as baboons and a tawny eagle. We then checked-in to Skukuza after a long but very successful day!

7 December 2014

This morning we set off with a little drizzle. It didn't look to bad, so we were high spirited. Just around the corner we started off with a great sighting of 4 hyenas. They were hanging around, sniffing at something in the bushes, coming on the road to drink the rainwater from the standing puddles and one of them even had a nice roll on the tar to scratch its back. It was an awesome sighting we thoroughly enjoyed.

When we pulled off however, the rain intensified. That wasn't really according to plan as we all covered up beneath ponchos. The many leopard tortoises and hinged tortoises we saw on the road enjoyed the rain very much, as they all came to drink from the rain puddles and were up and about. We did come across some baboons and vervet monkeys, which were looking just as miserable as us.

Then of course we saw many wet impalas and white backed vultures, but we also saw an elephant herd crossing right behind us. Unbeknown they wanted to cross, when we first noticed them, we stopped right in their way of passage. Being told so by the matriarch we moved out of the way and had an excellent view of this elephant herd crossing military style all in a nicely formed line. In a drainage line a mother and baby rhino were resting. We watched getting quite wet ourselves as we had the toughest rain yet. It did get rewarded with the mum and baby briefly standing up to have a standing snooze, before lying down again.

When the rain finally started easing off we were close to having breakfast. We photographed two woodlands kingfishers displaying their beautiful colours to us, probably to deter each other or to impress a female that had long gone. At Sunset Dam we saw a marabou stork, white stork and Egyptian geese that chased away a juvenile martial eagle.

Then it was time for a well deserved cup of steaming hot coffee and some breakfast as by now we were all cold and wet. We ate with hippos and buffalos, cape glossy starlings and dark capped bulbuls, white storks, grey herons and a crocodile all close-by.

While having breakfast the weather was nice and dry, and even the sun came to have a look. What do ya know, the moment we get back in the car and start driving again, it comes down with buckets of rain! We didn't flinch and set off anyway on the tar road back to Skukuza. And this time we were rewarded with spotting lions. Just before the Lubyelubye bridge a male lion didn't care about the rain and was lying in the open riverbed. Head up, looking around, he was giving a great show for pictures. The occasional yawn and the licking of the paws made it perfect. And then suddenly from the edge of the riverbed came a lioness. She walked up to the male, and straight passed him. The male however, got up and followed her. As we drove along with them they lied down in the riverbed together where she started washing her face while the male started napping. After a while she got bored and got up again. She walked along the riverline and then up towards the road. Aiming the spot right she came out right in front of our bumper and as before, the male had followed. Have great shots of their rear ends as they kept on walking on the road for a bit, before crossing completely and disappearing into the thicker bush on the other side!
This great sighting had made us forget about the rain which started easing down again. We continued as the lions were out of sight and saw multiple Jacobin's cuckoos, red chested cuckoo, a couple of bushbucks, warthogs, nice kudu bulls, elephants in the river, a juvenile bateleur and a fish eagle.

We then crossed high level bridge over the Sabie river where the hippos were resting in little groups pretending to be rocks. On the Marula tar side of the river we did see two pretty lilac breasted rollers sitting in a tree all wet. Judging by the wet tarmac we had just missed the rain here, but we didn't mind this at all! At the low level bridge over the Sand river we suddenly saw a wild dog walking in the open. And he was actually not alone as he was walking back to the rest of its family. The greeted each other with tail wags and whining and licking and then settled back in. Using each other as pillows we counted about nine wild dogs piled up to sleep. As we didn't get anymore than the occasional ear wiggle and paw movement, we gave up after a while and continued down the road.

When we got to the other side and turned onto the last stretch of the road to Skukuza we heard vervet monkeys as well as impalas call the alarm. We scouted around and saw the tail of a leopard disappearing into the bush towards the river. With a swift movement we turned around and drove onto alpha loop and tried to calculate its path. Right there where we were waiting he reappeared between the bushes. We followed him through the bushes to an open spot where we had an amazing sighting of him coming out in the open, sniffing and scent marking a bush and then walked right by our vehicle as if we didn't exist, cross in front of us and walked down on the other side towards the river and out of sight. The amount of pictures taken was incredible, but it was truly an amazing sighting!

Just before Skukuza we had a little laugh about this giant landsnail that tried to run across the road but looked like it got stuck in place. Back 'home' we enjoyed ourselves with a self braaied lunch with a show by a pintailed whydah male impressing a female and a couple of black-collared barbets singing their duet in the tree next to us.

Then, as the sun actually came out, it was time for the sundowner safari. Let's hope they keep it dry!

8 December 2014

The guests were lucky and kept it dry on the sundowner. While on a truck full of other people as well as children handling the spotlight, they managed to add some more sightings to the already impressive list. They saw a giraffe, which was one more thing they really liked to see in the KNP, as well as baboons, lots of vervet monkeys playing in the water, a family of white rhinos, a nyala, the wild dogs that hadn't moved an inch from where we saw them this morning, one bull elephant, a rock python, a large-spotted genet and they ended with lots of hyenas in the road just before Skukuza.

This morning we set off a little later than we yesterday. After all yesterday's excitement, another rainy weather forecast, a late dinner after the sundowner, and the fact we had to pack up all our stuff, we decided 30 minutes more sleep would be a nice thing. But actually, when we drove out of Skukuza, it was still early. And dry, for now. We started of good with three giraffes munching on either side of the road. They were picking off the Acacia leaves as if they hadn't eating anything as good in days. But it gave lots of good photo opportunities for us. A little side trip to the Mathekanyane viewpoint gave us a nice perspective of the vast greatness of the Kruger Park. Then it was a rather quiet drive except for the omnipresent impalas and a landsnail crossing the road in its own pace.

We then got a tip from a member of the public about some lions on the dirtroad up ahead, so we decided to have a quick look. Watergat seemed to be the place to be for animals today as we in quick succession encountered various harems of zebras, multiple white rhinos, a steenbok couple, waterbucks, two kudu bulls as well as some females, a dung beetle rolling a massive ball across the road and then the lions. Two male lions, one lying as flat as a pile of dirt, one with his head up but with his back to us. Either way, we could see the awesomeness of their full manes. However after 10 minutes watching lions sleep, we gave up waiting for some movement and drove back towards Napi. Along the way, most animals we saw on the way up hadn't moved far.

Then down Napi we saw two big elephant bulls and a warthog. The animals were hiding away, helping us to get to Pretoriuskop quickly for a long overdue cup of coffee and breakfast. After that the safari was unfortunately coming to an end as we drove to the KMI Airport. We ended the safari with sightings of a long crested eagle on the way and impalas at the airport itself. I know Ian, Tony, Victor and Shez had a great time, and hopefully they enjoy going through all the pictures they took almost as much as the real safari. Maybe we'll see you back one day! Safe travels to Cape Town and Mozambique!

More coming soon!!