Big 5 Day
January 31, 2022

We changed camps today as we went from Crocodile Bridge to Berg-en-Dal. We decided to take the dirt road which runs along the southern boundary of the Kruger Park along the Crocodile River. Every time I drive that road I have not been disappointed and today was no exception. As we left the camp (literally right at the gate), a hyena ran across the road. It was a good start to a great day.

About 10 kms from Crocodile Bridge we joined a number of cars watching a pride of lion. They weren’t doing much. You could see a paw of male lion up against a tree and occasionally you could see one of the others as they shifted position. We were going to drive on but decided to stay and see if they did anything. We weren’t disappointed because I had an experience that I have never had in the KNP before. Some of the cars had been there for some time and one of their cars wouldn’t start when they wanted to leave. What else can you do but get out of your vehicle and jump start from another car. Not something you really want to do with lions 30 meters away though! They connected up everything and ran the one car for a bit. By this point some of the lions were sitting up interested in what was going on. When they started the other car the male lion was up and running. Fortunately not toward the guy out of his car though but away from everything – genuine scaredy-cat! Then all the others were up to suddenly all looking. The guy out his car didn’t flinch though – finished with the jump start, packed up everything and got back into his car. A few minutes later the male lion came trotting back again like nothing had happened and he just had to make a dash for the loo.

We headed on and saw quite a lot of wildlife along the drive – giraffe, elephant, impala, kudu, zebra, vervet monkeys, warthog, waterbuck. Large herds of impala which is always good for seeing predators. On one of the water crossings a driver we past said there was a leopard in a tree with its kill along the road. We did get to see that (it had an impala) but before we got there we saw 4 rhino in a river bed and then they walked basically right past us and into the bush. First sighting of rhino in 7 days and a really good one too. The leopard sighting was 4 out of the big 5 – we only need buffalo which we saw a few minutes later giving us the Big 5 in one day.

It didn’t stop there though because just a little later, we rounded a bend and a male lion was walking down the road and walked right past my window (which I had closed by that point!). We turned around and followed it down the road and then it eventually headed off into the bush. We went up to a bird hide and another bird to the trip list – they are unfortunately coming through very slowly now. We added 5 yesterday only and now on 167. Looks like the 200 target might be out of range.

We also managed to see two more crashes of rhino yesterday. All of them very close to the road and the last two we were the only car watching them. We actually got to 1.6 x Big 5 as we only didn’t see leopard and buffalo twice. We got to the camp at 2pm and after checking in we decided we didn’t need to go out again after that drive. What else could we really hope to see!

While lying on our bed relaxing, I looked up and I could see elephant right at the fence in front of cottage. It was a big herd and they clearly came to eat the marula fruit that had fallen from the marula tree. They had one of tiniest calves I had ever seen. Then another herd approached as well and there was some brief charging and retreating from both sides and eventually the first herd left and the new (larger herd – more than 20) took over. Lots of smelling of us – we couldn’t have been more than 10-15 meters away at times but fortunately with an electric fence between us and them. A lovely entertaining sighting.

As it was overcast and rained the majority of the day, we had decided against a braai and had planned to do a pasta for dinner. However, after about 30 minutes of waiting for the plate to get hot enough we gave up and headed to the restaurant for dinner instead. It was our anniversary so seemed fitting to be at least eating out even though the menu wasn’t particularly exciting.

Sorry for the delay post but the cellphone signal is terrible here at the moment. Comes and goes and last night it was gone entirely. Let’s see what happens tonight!

P & H

One thought on “Big 5 Day

Leave your comments...