Friday, December 5, 2014

On Safari With Curtis From 1 December 2014

1 December 2014

This morning we set out along the camp road and immediately found a herd of impala and then a few dagga boys close to the lodge. We turned onto Napi where we found plenty more impala and some kudu including a couple of the bull kudu whose impressive horns never fail to impress.

We came across a couple of bull elephants and the back end of a white rhino before we came across a small group of cars. After a scan of the area we found a group of six lions. To begin with we could only see the head of one of them as she was lying up but one by one they slowly revealed themselves to us as they started to move around. Although there was a lot of grass in the way it was still a very nice start to the day and our patience was rewarded as we waited and got the pictures we wanted.

We then found a lone hyena cub lying just outside the den at flat rocks but no sign of any others or its babysitter.

Moving on we came to more ellies, zebra, warthog, kudu and impala before our coffee stop at skukuza. While we were at skukuza I heard of a sighting of wild dog down the road and so headed down in that direction. Unfortunately luck was not with us as the dogs had moved off,  but if you believe in karma we had plenty as instead of dogs we found a leopard instead. It wasn't a long sighting, just a minute or two, as she was trying to hunt some impala but was soon spotted and the alarm calls went off. This was her cue to slink off into the bush to try another day. We also had a lovely male elephant standing right next to the road and just a few meters from us but he was too busy eating to be interested in little old us. Just past the elephant when we found two southern ground hornbills and a spekes hinged tortoise and then back on the tar road two giant land snails having a race to the other side of the road. I will go back this afternoon to see who won!!!

We took a trip around the river finding plenty of hippos, buffalo and kudu as well as finding our first Bushbuck of this tour. But the highlight was a pair of mating lions just five meters off the road. We had a great view of them and stayed with them for about forty minutes mating twice with all the snarling and growling being magnified as everyone watched in silence.

Back to Skukuza for lunch and then we headed back along Napi to the lodge. In the afternoon we found the first patch very quiet so we made a stop at mathekanyane viewpoint for a nice overview of this area and to allow for a small idea of the vastness of the park. Once we got past transport dam things started to pick up.

First a tower of giraffe in the distance then we found the young hyena cub still outside it's den. Straight after a lone elephant bull and then the lions we had seen this morning. About seven hours had passed since we first saw them and they had moved probably less than ten meters. Again we waited and got the occasional head popping up to have a look, the occasional roll over showing us a belly and the occasional get up, walk two meters and then flop down as if it had walked a marathon strategy.

Next up the first of three rhino sightings, the first a lone bull, the second four males all play fighting and trying for dominance and the third two more just doing what rhino do best, grazing. Then we had a nice herd of buffalo close to the road, some had crossed while others were still waiting. We also had a couple of nice zebra sightings as well as seeing waterbuck, klipspringer, steenbok, common duiker and dwarf mongoose to end another great day.

2 December 2014

Unfortunately today was the final day of the tour and so after a good breakfast we set out on our final game drive. This morning, the sightings to begin with were few and far between. In fact we didn't see a single impala all the way along Napi!!! The few sightings we did have were nice things including four nice elephant sighting. All male groups close to the road. We also saw southern ground hornbills, two adults and a juvenile. But the nicest sighting on Napi was a secretary bird. Not often seen around this area so fully appreciated. We turned onto watergat and found our first impalas, giraffe and kudu of the day as well as our first vervets of the tour. We turned down Doispane to find zebra and giraffe, plenty of them, in fact every time we had sightings of them together. We also found a hippo in the shallow waters of Ingwe donga and found mum and baby bushbuck along with mum and baby wildebeest. Three more elephants and buffalo bulls before we exited the park at Phabeni.

Back in nelspruit it was time to say goodbye to Fernanda and Lance who carry on their South Africa travels. It has been an absolute pleasure guys having you on tour. I know just how much you have enjoyed your safari and how much you enjoyed all the sightings weather big and small. Hope to see you back with me on tour one day.

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