An early start to the day, 6:15 to be precise, and we were off to Sunset Dam near Lower Sabie – again! The day started off OK with lots of Hippos, Crocs and water birds such as Grey Herons, Yellow Billed Storks, Plovers, etc… Across the dam I saw a larger animal on the move and the binoculars helped to identify two male Lions. They moved closer, stopping to drink at the water’s edge in nice early golden sunlight. After a short while they traversed the edge of the water and appeared to be making their way towards our car. By this time there were probably ten cars watching so we quickly maneuvered to a position where I thought they would emerge and give us the prime vantage point. Luck (and I’d like to think a bit of judgment) was with us and they emerged less than 20 metres away and strolled right past the car within 2 metres of us, pausing briefly to stare in at us. A really great start to the day.
We left behind the chaos of traffic now in attendance and drove on until the dry river bed of Lubyelubye where an ‘eagle-eyed’ visitor had spotted a Leopard in the thicket. We waited and sure enough it slowly emerged and then disappeared under the road bridge, eventually climbing out of the other side. It casually crossed the river bed allowing for some clear shots, but it just didn’t want to turn and face the camera. Nevertheless some good shots were possible before it moved on and into the distance. The grace and power of this top predator was clearly evident as it moved with sureness and purpose, back into the dense thicket.
Further encounters ensued with Rhino, Buffalo, and Kingfisher all posing for the camera. It was still only 8:30am, time for breakfast, having seen four of the Big 5. How could we top this for a day in the bush, had we peaked too early?
Last time we were in Kruger we didn’t really take much notice of the wildlife on show within the camp perimeters, this time I aimed to put that right. A tour of the camp resulted in some good shots of Mousebirds on the Aloe Vera plants by reception along with Dark-Capped Bulbuls and the usual Glossy Starlings. Across the river a small herd of Elephants took time out to quench their thirst and have a wash down, this completed our Big 5 for the day.
The day was finished with a run out on the loop around the Duke waterhole which was fairly quiet in terms of game spotting. Time for a Braai.