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!!