13 February 2017 - Today we started a new Safari with Gian and Lynnmarie. On route to our camp, we encountered a small breeding herd of Elephant, with several calf ’ s, including one of only a couple of months old. They stuck together as a herd, because o f all the young and were quite well hidden in the long grass, but they eventually cross ed the road in front of us, which provided us with an excellent sighting and we even got a goo d view of the youngster, although the adults were huddled around it, sheltering it as they crossed! After checking in and settling into camp, we went out for a late afternoon drive. Here we were very lucky - finding a family of 4 White Rhino, the first I've seen in the area for more than 2 weeks! They were very relaxed, grazing, every now and then one lifting it's head to sniff the air and look around. It was very special getting to sit and watch them for a while as they moved along the road and eventually into a thicket. In addition we also had a quick sighting of a Spotted Hyena, 2 very impressive Kudu bulls and a Giraffe crossing the road - all in all a great first afternoon on Safari!
14 February 2017 - This morning we set out early, hoping to find some predator activity. Our luck was in, as shortly after leaving camp we encountered some Lions, very relaxed , in and close to the road. There was a large adult male lying right next to the road, with a young male very well hidden in the grass next to him. Another young male w as standing in the road in front of us calling to the rest. Then a few meters further on was 4 cubs of about 5 months old with another young male between them. They appeared to not mind the presence of our vehicle and some of the cubs were even playing in the road, other just lying there, in the road looking out over the valley. With so many males and youngsters around, the pride females must have been out on a hunt. We left the sighting with some still lying in or right next to the road and a few others slowly making their way onto higher ground for a better view of the surrounding area. During the course of the morning, we also found several Elephant and o n 2 occasions musth bulls in the road, fully claiming their right of way and not making space - in both cases putting us in reverse for some distance, one displaying by picking up dust as he moved along towards us, and tossing it up and over him, shaking his head and ears in a cloud of dust as he approached, with us of course keeping a safe distance, all the while in reverse. Then the smell of fermenting Marula became more interesting and he veered of to a nearby tree to feed on the fallen fruit, allowing us past!
15 February 2017 - Shortly after leaving camp early this morning, we found a set of fresh Leopard tracks along a dirt road. We followed the tracks - which broke the dewy crust on the road, indicating that it was probably less than hour old - for about 2 km, seeing the scrape marks of the back paws where it had stopped for scent-marking in various locations - until it veered off the road and into a thicket; knowing that the cat was close- by, but not seeing it! A little further on we found a lone Spotted Hyena on the prowl, wet from the dew in the tall grass, walking around in circles, following a scent trail of possibly a female Hyena, as this looked like a male and it was close to a den site. After our breakfast stop we found 2 Lion, a male and female, lying under a bush on the edge of a riverbed, but since it was fairly cloudy and not very hot, they weren't trying to hide in the shade and we had a very nice clear view, both in very good condition, possibly a mating pair. Later on we had a beautiful sighting of a large and very relaxed bull Elephant, grazing close to the road, with an afternoon thunderstorm brewing in the background, bringing the end to another great day of game viewing!
16 February 2017 - This morning we left early for our final drive of the Safari. Although it w as raining with inclement weather expected for the next few days, we decided to brave the conditions and were not disappointed. We received word of a Leopard that had been spotted on the move earlier in the morning and decided to make our way in that direction, hoping for the best. On route, we were pleasantly surprised when we encountered a lone Wilddog running down the road towards us! It was a fairly quick sighting as he was on a mission, but we saw him very well as he ran straight past us and continued down the road. As they are pack animals, there must have been more around and they were most likely looking for an early breakfast! We carried on in the intended direction and were very lucky indeed as we found the Leopard we were looking for, lounging on a fallen tree-trunk, maybe 80 m away, but in the open! It was a large male and after watching him for a while he jumped from the tree and moved a little further in, getting up a different tree, looking a round as if trying to spot potential prey. There was a herd of Impala close by, but in a clearing and with a very strong wind blowing and swirling, which would make for a tr icky approach. He eventually got of f that tree too and disappeared into the long grass, heading away from us! Then it was time for our own breakfast and to load luggage, as the morning was nearing it's end. We had another unexpected bit of luck after breakfast, shortly before exiting the park, as 4 young male Lion came walking out onto the road in front of us! They moved off the road upon seeing us and moved parallel to us in a fire-break, with one of the males a bit nervous, hiding in the thicket keeping an eye on us and calling on the others to wait for him - a great end to a very successful Safari!
13 February 2017 - Our morning game drive from Olifants camp along the river to Letaba camp for breakfast was exciting yet again. Our first sighting was 3 Kori Bustards walking through the bush an exciting new species for us. The biggest surprise of the morning was a big male Lion lying in between the mopani trees just watching cars drive by. It was lovely seeing a lion in such goo d condition after quite a few of our sighting the lions were quite skinny from not enough food, TB or Mange. We found a beautiful bird hide where we spent some time looking at hippos, crocodiles, Storks and Kingfishers.
14 February 2017 - This day consisted off Elephants, Button quail, Giraffes and a lovely Sighting of Rhinos walking through a little soring covered with Foxclove and Yello w mouse wiskered. All pretty grasses making it such a beautiful scenery. While the rhinos are eating away. Lesser spotted Eagles were covering the trees along a drainage line where there were thousands of Queleas nesting. Making the perfect meal for a hungry Ra ptor.
15 February 2017 - Today we made our way from Satara to Nkambeni the camp where we stayed our last night. A new species for us today was 2 little Klipspringers that was bouncing on rock s making sure that there were not any intruders. Later on we had some time with a big herd of elephants taking mud baths a nd fighting over who is in the water and who is out. Some baboon politics ended our drive. Playing and fighting their way along the road. Trashing some marula trees to get to all the ripest fruits.
16 February 2017 - Our last morning together was a really scenic drive where we were able to look at quite a few of the trees, flowers and smaller animals that were in these areas. A little chameleon crossing the road was one of them and just before that a Gia nt Legless skink was also posing for us to take pictures off. Getting some beautiful pictures of Waterbuck with the sun rising was also special. Unfortunately all good things have to end but hopefully they will be back one day on a safari again.