We had a long drive ahead today of around 160 km. That might not seem long when you can travel 120 km/h but when you average around 30 km/h then it is a 6 hour trip. We decided to get up around 5:30am and leave when we were ready so that we could do a significant amount of the trip when it was still cooler and good for game viewing. That turned out to be a really good decision. Not only did we time it perfectly to arrive at 2pm at Letaba (check in time), it was also getting extremely hot when we arrived (35 degrees) and no animals were to be seen and we were wilting in the car.
The drive from Lower Sabie north to Letaba while a long one does go through some really good game viewing territory. The first bit of the drive was incredibly green and we added numerous additional birds to our trip list. We also saw a hyena lying in the middle of the road (probably the same ones we saw yesterday am), a honey badger cross the road (first time I have seen that in the Kruger) and two white rhino.
Shortly after the Tshokwane picnic spot I spotted lion. No one else around – just us and them (before some other cars arrived and they saw what we had spotted). And they were active walking north and stopping occasionally to smell the air (like they were thinking about hunting). As the lion were on Helen’s side of the road (and I saw them) she said I had earned the right to go first on the blog sign off tonight. The sighting was particularly good as we eventually counted around 12 lions in total including teenagers and some much smaller cubs too. Nothing better than spotting a predator yourself when in the Kruger Park!
We also added a lifer today – Mosque Swallow. It is an uncommon summer visitor to the Kruger. The migrants are very much present in the Kruger at the moment – the number of swallows we have seen is more than I have ever seen before. So far (by the end of today) we have seen 91 different birds. That is incredibly good for 2 days in the Kruger Park and beats any previous record we might have had. We have gotten much better at birding but the bird life is prolific as well at this time of the year.
What has surprised us is how quiet the Kruger Park is at the moment. Having only ever come in school holidays for the last 20 odd years, it is a real treat to come when there are so few people here. At Letaba we are in a circle of about 15 huts and only 4 of them are currently occupied. Given we don’t have the constraint of school holidays ever again, I can see that this will become a regular occurrence for us!
P & H