Unfortunately when we woke up at 5:30am this it was still raining. We figured that birding wouldn’t be great in the rain and it was still quite dark because of the cloud cover. We didn’t rush to get out for the game drive. We ended up leaving at about 6:20am with the intention of heading East to Nwanedzi (near Mozambique border). It was raining for about the first 30 minutes and then fortunately it stopped.
We saw quite a lot of bird life which was amazing given the weather conditions. Game was a little lacking though unfortunately. As we approach Nwanedzi we met an elephant bull in the road. He was eating a bush on the side of the road and wasn’t going anywhere fast. We didn’t pressurize him at all but once he was done eating the bush (he basically flattened it), he start to become aggressive towards us and came straight down the road toward us. I am pretty used to getting charged by elephants now and so had the car in reverse quite quickly and backed up to give him so space. Of course it wasn’t just us at this point so we had 3 cars reversing and try to avoid crashing into each other as well.
The elephant kept coming and 2 of the cars managed to do 3-point turns so they could drive forward rather than reversing which just left me reversing. Stephen was making sure that this time (because if you’ve read any of my previous game park blogs you will remember this is not the first time this has happened to us) he had the events on video for all to enjoy. As you would have figured out given the fact I am typing this blog – we did manage to survive and Stephen has the footage. After reversing about 500 meters, he got distracted by his desire to eat some more and went off into the bush just off the road and we could get past him quickly.
Besides our elephant experience, we did manage to add 2 more lifers to our lists. I’m now at 416 species in Southern Africa. We actually stopped to identify one of the lifers and while we were doing that we saw the other one too. So basically 2 lifers within a minute and at exactly the same location. That is not something that usually happens.
We got back to the camp around 10am for a late breakfast and then basically spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon in camp. Stephen read, I downloaded emails (very slow connection) and Stephen slept. We then headed out again at 3pm. Game was pretty sparse to start with but toward the end of the drive we added another 2 of the Big 5 – buffalo (right next to the road) and Lion (quite near the camp but a little way off the road). We had cellphone signal and I was talking to Helen via whatsapp when we saw it and she asked for a picture which I duly sent. No chance of her ever seeing it from my iPhone picture though! We are up to 65 birds for the trip as well.
P & S
PS: Forgot to say that last night while we were eating supper an African Wild Cat came to check out what might have fallen from our braai. Pretty nice sighting of something you don’t often see in the Kruger.