We headed home today. But first we had our last game drive. From Letaba to Satara (where we would have breakfast) and then from Satara to Orpen gate and out the park and then to the Hoedspruit airport. We decided an early start is better as it would give us plenty of time if we saw something on route and best game viewing (if you haven’t learnt this already!) is in the morning before it gets too hot. It was partly overcast as it had been raining most of the night but the birds were active and we the game was plentiful.
Not more than 15 kms from Letaba a leopard walked out into the road in front of us. Great sighting. It then headed off into the bush and within a minute it was gone. One car behind us barely saw it before it vanished. That car then passed us as they were wanting to drive faster than us. Not much further down the road and we came across another elephant bull in the road.
Yes I know what you’re thinking and yes we were suitably careful. The guy in front realised he couldn’t get past and did a U-turn to drive away. I just put the car in reverse and proceeded backwards. We reversed, the elephant kept coming down the road, reverse some more, elephant came some more. And so it went for about 500 meters. Eventually the elephant got hungry and headed off the road into the bush. But unfortunately not far enough away that we could get past. If you moved forward it turned and looked at you and flapped its ears – basically saying ‘just try’. This went on for 15 minutes. We fortunately had the time. Eventually the guy in front pulled forward slowly and got past. That gave me hope and we did the same. The elephant fortunately didn’t do anything – nice change!
We stopped for morning coffee at a viewpoint over the Olifants River – just reminded us why we love the Kruger so much – and then breakfast at Satara. From Satara we headed west and exited the KNP at the Orpen Gate. 11 days later, 3 pride of lions, 3 leopard, 2 sets of cheetah, 2 sightings of hyena and 1 black backed jackal sighting. Add to that 3 run ins with elephant, more buffalo than we have ever seen and plenty of all the other stuff including three separate sightings of the rare Tssebee buck. We ended the bird list at 141 (slightly short of last years 150 but a few less days than last year as well) and 4 lifers taking my total lifer total to 464 birds.
The flight home was uneventful and on time. We loved our time away but it is (as always) also good to be home again. Back to grindstone tomorrow!
Until next time …
P & H