We had one last full day in Lower Sabie. It had rained on and off throughout the night and it was still heavily overcast. It was also the coolest morning we have had (21 degrees at 6am). Unfortunately game wise the morning drive was unproductive except for the standard things we had already seen. The bird life though was incredible. It seems all the birds were out to play after the rain. And they were pretty frisky too. Numerous birds were displaying. I am not sure if it is the rain that does it or what but it seems almost all the birds were up to something.
Being Cape Town citizens, we spent the rest of the morning in the camp doing our washing for the last two weeks so that we could avoid using the water at home for that. The rest of the day we just spent relaxing in the camp – watching TV series, watching cricket, reading. The same as what we had done for the other days preceding this.
It was our last evening game drive and we decided to head south for a quick loop. Unfortunately about 2/3rds of the way around we were warned that there were elephants in the road and not moving and were quite aggressive. The only way back was to retrace. We decided to go look for ourselves. They were right. Some of the males were fighting amongst themselves and it was a big herd and they were on both sides of the road. No place even to do a 3-point turn (narrow dirt road) so I reversed back about 800 meters at pace (Helen took the photo of the speedometer). No real danger from the elephants but now we had a time challenge to ensure we got back before they shut the gate. We made it back with enough time to go and take a few shots at the Sunset Dam before heading back into the camp. Our last dinner was (of course) a braai while listening to the sounds of hippo and hyena.
This morning we packed up, had a late breakfast (7am which by our standards of getting up at 5:30am is late!), packed the car and left just after 8am. We had about 35 kms to the gate. We saw a lot of game but no predators. Though 1.5kms from the gate we saw 5 rhino. We only had seen rhino on day 3 so 11 days later we saw some more and just before we excited the Kruger.
It has been a fantastic two weeks. The best quotes from Helen over the last few days are:
“When are we doing this again?”
“Can we do this again early next year?”
“You looked more relaxed and healthy than I have seen you in years”
“I could have done 3 weeks instead of 2 weeks”
We definitely preferred the north of the Kruger to the south. A lot fewer people. When you are out driving you hardly pass a car. No tour operators. Smaller camps. We can reel off the reasons. Helen’s favourite camp was Letaba, mine was Shingwedzi. Next time (which we hope there will be!) we want to spend some nights in Olifants & Punda Maria.
Until next time …
P & H