The Kruger never disappoints. The drive from Olifants to Shingwedzi (our camp for the nest 3 nights) was one of those memorable ones. We left at 6:30am and the drive was similar in distance that we did from Lower Sabie to Olifants. We saw a reasonable amount of game on the drive up towards Letaba but just outside Letaba (about 5 kms from the camp) we saw lion on the side of the road and covered in blood. It was clear that it had been eating recently. We then spotted the carcass and another lion eating. After some further examination we found a third lion. It was a relatively fresh kill (we later found out that it happened earlier in the morning).
There were 3 young male lions and they had taken down a wildebeest. They had eaten out the insides but there was still plenty left on the carcass. While watching them eat and rest after eating, we suddenly saw 2 hyena come out onto the road. They clearly smelt the kill and were already lurking. Just as soon as we saw the hyena, a leopard crossed the road between the lions and the hyena. We only saw it because we had seen the hyena. As fast as we saw the leopard it was gone again into the bush. We watched the lions (including one trying to chew the speed limit sign!) but never saw the leopard or hyena again.
We then drove upwards to Mopani and 29 kms from the camp we saw a cheetah. The reason I know the exact distance was because it decided to jump onto the road marking and mark it’s territory through anal secretion. It was right next to us (like 5 meters away maximum). Another incredible sighting. After a few minutes, it jumped off, then headed down the road and finally into the bush were we could no longer see it.
All of this happened before we got to Mopani for breakfast. An incredible 2 hours of driving where we saw two of the big 5 in one sighting. We had also seen elephant (multiple times) and later in the day we saw buffalo so that meant we saw 4 of the Big 5 in one day (missing only rhino). Despite seeing a reasonable amount of game during the rest of the drive, it almost seemed mundane in comparison to the first 2 hours.
We arrived at Shingwedzi at about 1pm and managed again to get our accommodation immediately. We went out for a shorter drive at 4pm – partly because I needed to be back by 6pm for an online meeting and partly because we had driven a long way. The roads around Shingwedzi are generally incredible for game spotting and a slow drive to the bird hide and Kanniedood Dam (it is actually no longer there as they have recently blown up the dam as they believe it is more ecologically correct) can yield the most amazing of sightings. We didn’t get to see anything special but it was still an enjoyable evening drive.
Dinner of spaghetti bolognese made by O and B.
Until tomorrow …
P, H, S, M, O, B (they got promoted for making dinner for us) & K
(sorry no pics … signal just too weak)