The header for this blog was Daniel’s words to describe today. It didn’t feel like that to start with but it definitely ended like that. We were up at 5:40am this morning so that we could go out for an early morning drive when the gates opened at 6am. There is a dam near the camp and we headed there and had our coffee/hot chocolate and rusks. During the morning drive we added considerable birds to the trip list and also managed to see 3 of the big 5 within about 200 meters of each other. We also watched two hippo’s fighting each other in the dam.
We headed back to the camp for breakfast and then at check out time (10am) we headed for our night 2 camp location which is Berg-en-Dal. By this stage it was already 32 degrees and the animal life was already becoming scarce. In fact at 7am the temperature was already up to 25 degrees. We had a leisurely drive down to Berg-en-Dal as check in time is only 2pm. On route we stopped for lunch at one of the picnic areas. There are some things in the Kruger Park which have slipped considerably and this is one of them. They had run out of tomatoes and Coke (which store ever runs out of Coke?!) and so went made it simple and ordered 6 Ham & Cheese toasted sandwiches. They probably took 20 minutes to make. I could have made about 40 in that time.
We arrived at Berg-en-Dal at around 2:30pm and decided to just relax for the next 2 hours and only head out again at about 4:30pm. Helen and Chloe decided to stay and rest some more and the men/boys went out. The game life on the 1 hour 30 minute drive was probably the most I have ever seen in that time in the Kruger Park. We saw 28 rhino (no I am not kidding) and we came to the conclusion that they really don’t seem to be a species under threat. At one watering hole we saw three separate crash of rhino’s within about 300-400 meters of each other. We saw a huge amount of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, impala and rhino. It seemed that we didn’t drive for more than a few minutes without seeing some game life. The only thing we were missing were some predators.
We had been driving & talking about seeing a leopard being in trees when Stephen called out and said ‘leopard’. We all look excitedly and what he was pointing at and it definitely looked like it until we realised it was actually a giraffe’s head in the tree! Disappointed … we moved on but continued looking for the elusive leopard. As we started to turn back to the camp it wasn’t more than a few kilometers later when we our desire was met. A leopard in the tree (photo courtesy of Stephen). The only issue left was that by the time we pulled out we had just enough time to make it back into the camp before they closed the gate at 6pm. So we drive the balance of the 13 kms at the speed limit of 50km/h. You would think you can’t see anything at that speed but we managed to see 10 rhinos. We have seen so many rhino now that we don’t even need to stop to look at them anymore.
While we were preparing for dinner Michael even managed to get some Maths practice in. Braai for dinner again (steak and boerewors) washed down with some good red wine. It is 9:10pm and Stephen and Chloe have headed for bed and I think I will be behind them as soon as I post this blog.
Until tomorrow …
P, H, M, D, C & S (because he is still irritating Chloe incessantly … @Lara – could you intervene as I think he might only listen to you it seems)