We headed out for a morning drive around the same route that yielded so much game last night. As expected we hardly saw anything except on the way to the dam Michael spotted a Hyena (yes … a spotted one). It was trotting along and after following it for about 1 minute or so it trotted over the hill and was gone. It reminded me how easy it is to miss things in the park as it can be just one minute between seeing and not seeing something.
We also watched two male giraffe fighting (Daniel said “We think they are males but what gender do they identify with” … #funny #genderconfusion). We had never seen two giraffe’s fighting before today. They were swinging their necks down and trying to hit each other with their horns. It didn’t see like they were doing much damage but also didn’t seem like they were going to stop any time soon. We watched for a reasonable amount of time and then headed back to the camp for breakfast, pack up and head out to Pretoriouskop again (where we will stay for next 2 nights).
Not far on our way up to Pretoriouskop we saw a whole lot of cars parked. You immediately know that it means something big. When I was growing up my father used to call people who just drove around car spotting ‘Joburg Johnnies’ as it invariably was someone from Johannesburg who didn’t spot anything themselves. So while we appreciate seeing ‘big’ game it is always a little disappointing we never saw it ourselves first. It didn’t take us too long to spot that it was two cheetah. It is incredibly hard to see cheetah in the Kruger Park as there are only 120 in total and the size of the Kruger Park is the size of Netherlands. Imagine getting 120 names of Dutch people and being told to find them in the whole of the Netherlands without any help. That’s how hard it should be to see a cheetah in Kruger Park. And yet there they were – two of them lying under a tree and doing nothing. Unfortunately they were too far away for a photo.
This sighting did start a conversation about which animals we each were like. Michael said he was like a cheetah – fast, rare, graceful whereas Stephen was more like a leopard – loner, strong willed, big. Then started a debate about whether a leopard was better than a cheetah or vice versa (yes I know what you’re think 10 year old boys … testosterone … doesn’t seem to matter that they are 17 and 19!). We then moved on to the other people in the car and Daniel suggested Helen was like a hippo and then tried his best to back peddle from that and tried to suggest numerous reasons why he said that. Fortunately Helen is thick skinned (probably the only similarity with a hippo … see Daniel that’s how it’s done). Chloe suggested she could be a Nyala because the mammal guidebook says they don’t like cold weather (and that definitely is Helen) and Michael suggested she could be crocodile because she likes lying next to the pool at home in the sun. Helen suggested I could be an eagle because I am always flying. Daniel was either a monkey or a lion (he was eating the Impala and Springbok chops tonight). Finally over dinner tonight Daniel suggested Chloe was liked a Honey Badger – small but fearless and also on the attack.
Back to the serious stuff … the game life was already sparse on the road and it was getting quite hot again (well into 30s). We decided to go up to Skukuza (basically capital of Kruger Park) for lunch and then come back to Pretoriouskop again. Good decision because a few kilometers from the turn there was another collection of cars and this time it was a huge male lion under a tree and a lionness sleeping. Big Five finally knocked off. In fact we had seen four of the Big Five on the drive up. We had seen 10 rhino within a 500 meter stretch this morning again (we don’t even stop for rhino anymore – we reckon we have seen more of them than giraffe and possibly even elephants).
We had lunch at Skukuza (they now have a Cattle Baron doing the takeaways) and then we headed back to Pretoriouskop. We arrived just after 2pm and decided to just chill in the camp for the rest of the afternoon/evening. There was a lot to see in the camp even including a few bird trippers and a troop of Vervet Monkeys that came through. They had very young babies – so young they couldn’t even really stand by themselves. They were very relaxed and we could get quite close to them. They are very naughty though and managed to steal an onion from one of our neighbours.
Dinner tonight was delayed so we could fit in the rugby. We started the fire at half time and starting braaiing after the game was finished. We were watching on an iPad and eventually we were all lined up in a row with Chloe in front of me. Every try was celebrated and I felt sorry for the neighbours trying to have a quiet meal.
Even though we didn’t go out on a drive late afternoon, everyone was relatively tired and we all headed to bed. I am going to post the blog and go to sleep immediately afterwards.
Until tomorrow …
P, H, M, C (becasue she compared me to a rat …), S (because Lara still hasn’t reigned him in from irritating Chloe yet) & D (well it should be obvious why he is bringing up the rear)
PS: We have seen 63 species of birds so far in the 2 days – minimum target is 100 but would hope to get many more still as we haven’t seen some of the obvious ones yet.