1 September 2017 - After picking up Jason and Diana we set off for our lodge to have lunch, check in and put our bush eyes in for the afternoon to come. On our afternoon drive we had a lovely elephant sighting with babies playing and drinking in the water and a very cute family of warthogs that was busy digging for roots and pulling the new green growths of grass out of the ground to eat. We were by a dam in the area while the sun was setting and watched as the hippos all started to talk and walk around eager to go out and graze the night away after sleeping the full day.
12 September 2017 - After a big warm breakfast and a early start we set of to find all the animals thats on an early morning mission in the bush. Our highlight for the morning was finding 4 Rhinos moving around in an open area. Female and Male with two youngsters. Keeping the youngsters away from the male and moving towards a lusher area where they will rest in the shade. It was a very hot day, an unbelievable 42degrees but still we managed to find Lions. When we found them they were lying on the rocks all of 25 lying trying to hide from the sun underneath the tiniest little tree in the area, babies and adults all on top of one another. Sitting there awhile I was sure they would get up and find a bigger tree closer to the road and out of the river. And sure thing they did that. They moved through the river and came to the big Secamore Figs and lay down mere meters from our car. All 15 of them. What a brilliant sighting it was. After that we were sitting at a hide overlooking a dam that we got to see a Fish eagle, a crocodile and hippos spread out.
13 September 2017 - Our highlight of today was very well deserved after missing a few by minutes crossing the road just before or after us but thats what a safari is... All about luck and timing. But this time the timing was just right. We came to de la Port which is a man made watering hole nearby where we stopped for lunch. We were told there was a leopard here that had caught a impala this morning and hyenas stole the kill away. Something that happens quite often unfortunately. The leopard had left and the hyenas were still there. But we still decided to stay seeing as there were loads of kudu and impala drinking water. After about 30min the impalas started alarm calling. After a few minutes one fell into the water and the leopard leaped after it and all the impalas ran away and the victim that fall in the water just got away in the nick of time. The female drank some water and eventually got chased by hyenas. But what an amazing sighting to have seen the interaction and tension built by the hunt. After that we had a male and female lion lying fast asleep under a bush in the honey moon faze. A brilliant day with great surprises.
19 September 2017 - Laura, Anthony, Jodie, Matt and I set off for our first full day safari together on the mission to find a few animals they had their hearts set on finding... And they were ready to leave early super eager to spot animals. Getting all jittery with questions on where and what to look for. Our first spot was 5 big dark shaped in the distance and the bubbling of voices was rising guessing what they might be... After getting closer and closer we discover it was Big Bull elephants spread out in the open grassland pulling out batches of grass hitting of the soil on their chests and shoving it into their mouths... Watching the one that was closest to the road we were all waiting patiently for him to cross and after awhile our wishes were granted and he lazily made his way across the road a few meters in front of us while chewing on some grass and scratching his itchy ear That got us all alert and ready to find some more critters lurking around at dawn. Not long after on a big flat rock we had a family of hyenas with full bellies warming up in the sun barely able to move... So happy with themselves. Later we made our way down a little dirt path to a waterhole. Just as we stopped and started looking with our binoculars form some hippos we spotted something coming to drink water. And it was a Lioness! Leaving the dam we took a second loop. We couldn't believe our luck, there we found a leopard lying under a trying licking and cleaning his face and paws after eating from an Impala that was lying in a tree he had draped it in. As we passed on our way out again the female lioness who was drinking was back lying on the sand bank with 5 others all sunbaking after having a drink. What a easy day where all the animals just found their way to the road we took .
20 September 2017 - The following day it was as if our cup of luck was overflowing again... Because we got to the gold by the rainbow... With a early start we were the first to start our drive in the park and found a pride of Lions consisting of 2 males, 3 females and 4 youngsters playing next to a dam we passed. And not long after we got there they all dispersed into the bushes as if they weren’t ever there only for a few to see. Further down the dirt path we saw 2 cars that stopped and in between them and us was the first for me in more than a year 4 Wild dog pups with two Adult on an early morning mission to hunt a impala or duiker that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After we had stopped for lunch at Afsaal a cute picnic spot for some Rosterkoeke bread cooked on a fire we finally found the animal Matt had countless times mistaken for a rock and wanted to see the most. A White Rhino Cow and Calf. They stopped next to the road as we were passing and Matt with a excited squeal had spotted them and we came to a halt having them so nearby and being able to watch them get comfortable with us and then crossing the road and just standing looking at us in the road. A brilliant sighting.
21 September 2017 - Sadly our last morning together the Auzies, Brits and I went after enough coffee and a warm breakfast to see what else there is. Today showed us there’s always more to see and came across a elephant in the road and following where this sub adult was heading we noticed something under its belly and there the tiniest elephant we had seen so far busy with its trunk pulling on braches with no luck still allot to learn. And later with allot of amusement to us tried to climb up a hill after slipping endless times made it up to follow his siblings through the bush while mom watched nearby. We had some Giraffes really close by and that was a moment for Selfies. The beautiful pair eager to stand still while wrapping their long tongues around new growths, giving us a moment to take pictures. With some oxpeckers on their backs removing the parasites from them What a great group of People teaching me loads, enjoying all the things of nature during these few days and laughing together makes it allot of fun.
14 September 2017 - Today I collected 3 new guests from Chicago city, friends for decades, cheryl, Russ and Shandon. We headed out to malelane where we were staying and after a short break we entered the park through malelane gate. Driving along the H3 I saw a few cars ahead of us all looking into the bush, there's a beautiful jackal berry tree and close to it is a large termite mound, lying with its back to us is a female leopard. It wasn't a great visual so we decided to sit and wait. We weren't disappointed! Unbeknown to us there were 2 leopards an adult and her cub and they had a fresh duiker kill hidden in the tree! We watched as the youngster tried to carry the kill further up, only to drop it a few times! We sat and just watched the comical behavior of the leopard very cute! After losing visual we headed off down the dirt road where 500 m in we saw a pack of wild dogs. They were restless and headed into the bush so I decided to turn around to where I thought they'd be heading, after 10 mins they appeared and then bolted along side of us.. they'd seen something. To our surprise there was a duiker and within a minute or so the dogs had killed and devoured most of it right in front of us.. totally amazing. With the gate closing at 6pm we left and had a delicious supper.
15 September 2017 - An early start and we were in, the first vehicle in the park. I wanted to see if the leopard was still in the tree, we looked for ages but couldn't spot her and then just as we drove away I looked in the distance and the kill had been moved to another tree and there was the mother leopard relaxing on a branch! We spent a short time with her before setting off. Along the way we found impalas giraffe and rhinos...beautiful. We stopped for lunch at skukuza and it was incredibly hot so my guests decided to do some souvenir shopping. The temperature today when I checked was a real feel of 40° so we all agreed to head back to camp and chill by the river ready for another early start.
16 September 2017 - As we left early today it was lovely and overcast and welcome relief from the past 2 days. We hit the gravel road today where we saw beautiful elephants and impalas. Dwarf mongoose chilling in the sun and a nice dazzle of zebras. At renosterkoppies we sat and watched impalas and a kudu hesitate to drink from the water hole...then I saw why, close to the waterhole was a male and female lion mating...a honeymoon couple. When it was determined that the lions were otherwise occupied the animals came to cautiously drink! Enjoying the coolness we drove around a while and saw a handsome male bataluer eagle some lilac breasted rollers and my first yellow billed kite of the season... summer is on its way.
17 September 2017 - Our last day today greeted us with very welcomed rain. Let's hope it's a good sign of heavy rains for summer. Even though it rained the impala still showed face and continued eating! A nice giraffe crossed the road in front of us and more elephants enjoying the cool rain. Another great safari with lovely guests.
20 September 2017 - Today I pick up a lovely family from South Carolina, John, Betsy and their daughter Margo. We were staying at nkambeni for a few days then a night at skukuza. After checking in to camp and having a tasty lunch my guests chilled until their sundowner drive at 16:30. Expectations were low as they set off. Not more than 500 m from numbi gate they came across a young female leopard in a marula tree, she's recently been left by her mother, this is normally what happens when t he cubs are 18 months and older so it's good to hear that she's doing well on her own and looking in good condition! Shabeni koppies for a glass of Amarula or 2 but not before my guests spotted 2 young male lions. Later on they saw a genet a scops owl (our smallest owl) and some elephants before heading back for a lovely buffet supper.
21 September 2017 - To day we set off nice and early, Betsy is a keen birder so we decided to head for lake panic bird hide, close to skukuza. Giraffe's and zebras browsing and grazing along the way and then talk of mating lions close to skukuza so set off to see if we could catch a glimpse. It was incredibly hot but the lions were still visible under a bush....doing what lions do most of the day, sleeping! Loads of impalas on the way home as well as blue wildebeest. Back at camp my guests chilled by the waterhole watching the hippos as the sun set.
22 September 2017 - The weather was a bit cooler with cloud cover as we set off. Lots of general game and some beautiful rhinos too. We sat and watched some vervet monkeys playing at pretoriuoskop camp when we had coffee always entertaining. We turned into lake panic to spend some time at the bird hide where the peace was refreshing. A huge crocodile and some hippos basking as well as an elephant in the distance chasing away the family of warthogs from "his" waterhole! Lunch was at the golf club where we watched a beautiful fish eagle gliding above us. On the way back we saw the mating lions...still no action though! A great day today.
23 September 2017 - We packed our luggage for tonight's stay at skukuza. I heard there had been a young buffalo killed by the shabeni pride of lions so we set off there before it got too hot. At the kill there were 3 females and a male eating the carcass and 4 cubs, very cute. After their fill they all headed to chill on a small koppie, the cubs in the shade and then the females lying in the sun. Lovely to see such healthy lions. Driving along the albesini road a friendly tourist told us of a cheetah sitting on a termite mound 2kms from us, we drove up and down but no luck until margo spotted it, a great spot.. Well done! We sat for a while just enjoying the sighting as it's incredibly rare to see cheetahs with less than 300 left in a 2million Hectare park! Heading to skukuza we came across the mating lions, this time they mated right in front of us and it was all over in seconds but incredible to see. After checking in at skukuza and having a quick lunch we did a drive to the bird hide where we saw a pied kingfisher and a black crake as well as white faced whistling ducks and 2 African Jacanas. A great supper and an early night ready for our last drive before drop off tomorrow.
24 September 2017 - A lovely cool morning as we headed out. Elephants and giraffes were our first encounter. Not long after we came across a clan of hyenas lying in the road. The young hyenas came to inspect our tyres that were obviously giving off a pleasant odor as they gently tried to bite! I started the engine and they quickly moved away. A nice tawny eagle in her nest and lilac breasted rollers. A massive heard of buffalo crossing the road as we departed the park. Another great safari with lovely guests.
11-15 September 2017 - As we left the camp. The morning was just amazing but hot. Our first great sighting was a lion that was on top of a rock in a distance but she was all alone. I've seen her there before so I'm sure she is hiding Cubs somewhere on the hill. After that we came up to a little pan where apparently a leopard was resting under a bush which we could barely see at that point of time. We waited a little longer as I spotted a herd of Impala coming down to drink from the pan. She took interest in that and started stalking them slowly while all the impala were oblivious of her presence. All of a sudden she came darting out of the bush pass our vehicle straight towards all the impala that were busy drinking. She was not far from them before they realized that there was danger approaching them and they all sprinted away, but one was caught as she chased it into the water and caught the impala. She dragged it out of the water and into the open where she started throttling it. A minute later 2 hyenas ran in and chased her off her kill and she ran up the tree watching the hyenas busy eating on her prize. What a great sighting. The same day we also bumped into a beautiful rhino mother and her calf. She was so relaxed with us and came close to the vehicle. So fortunate to see such a beautiful specimen.
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