We were woken up at 5am again this morning for our last game drive before heading home. As we had seen pretty much everything we didn’t really have any expectations but just to enjoy the drive. It was a much cooler morning (I had to wear a jersey for the first time on game drive) and there seemed to be a lot less happening. After seeing only the standard game we stopped for morning coffee on the side of the river. After coffee we planned to cross the river and go and look at the carcass again to see what was left. A few hundred meters down the road from where we had coffee we saw a hyena lying and sleeping on a small island in the river. Just a reminder that even when you think nothing is around there probably is still.
At the river crossing we found the pride of lion that had fed on the buffalo. They were spread around the islands in the river. Some of them were drinking and others just lying and ‘chilling’. We crossed the river and went to see the carcass. On route we saw another hyena who was obviously hoping to be able to get something from the leftovers. The carcass was just covered in vultures and those that weren’t actually on the carcass where waiting in the trees around. The hyena skulked around and then suddenly dashed in, grabbed a leg of the buffalo and loped off. It was very funny to watch but he was clearly very happy to get something.
We then started to make our way back to camp and found a massive herd of elephant having a mud bath. Our ranger (Daniel) said he wanted us to see the Sycamore Fig tree before we left. The South Africans on the vehicle knew that actually meant something special for us in the bush and when we got there, Moses (who always served us in the camp), was there cooking crumpets for us. We had crumpets, fruit and coffee and then really headed in to the camp. On route we finally saw a giraffe which Pam was desperately wanting to see and was the only thing we hadn’t yet seen. Our ranger – Daniel – was probably the best we have ever had. He is actually a chartered accountant and decided to take two years off his professional career to be a ranger. He was engaging and extremely knowledgeable given he has only being doing the job for about 18 months. He was never afraid to ask Japhet (our tracker) and was happy to be corrected by him on quite a few occasions when it came to tracks or animal knowledge. I really made for a very pleasurable experience overall.
A quick pack up and some further breakfast for those that wanted it (I had eaten 4 crumpets so I didn’t see the need for more breakfast) and we were on the road back to the airport and our flight back to Cape Town (and colder weather, and work, and normal life again). It felt like too short a trip for me and I was just starting to unwind. I wasn’t the only one to feel that way as Daniel also said he felt ‘sad’ to be leaving. While on the way back we were already planning the next time.
Until next time …
P, H, S, M, C, D (and P & J)
PS: final bird count was 103 and 2 lifers