This morning, I was up at 5am and joined the queue to get out when they open the gate at 6 am. It wasn’t quite the race as I had expected. There were 4 in front of me and no one behind. It got off to a slow start at about 15 km/hr, which is about the speed I normally travel. I turned left at the first turn to head towards the Hippo Pool to see what that would be like.
Unlike most other mornings when my first sightings have been Impala – today’s first sighting was Giraffe. It was too dark to take pictures for the first few animals, which included a few more Giraffes and several Wildebeest.
I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but the Hippo Pool is a place where you are allowed to get out of your vehicle. That surprised me since it is quite a distance from anything, but it is a wild area for sure and there is no saying what critters might be around. I wondered why there were so many ‘Do Not Enter’ signs around until I realized that you could get out of your car. I just sat there and had a cup of coffee A noisy family arrived about 10 minutes after I did and disturbed the peace for awhile, with the children hanging out the windows and sunroof and loudly calling for animals to appear. Luckily they didn’t stay long and I had quiet again. Well – quiet except for the Egyptian Geese.
I then drove back out to the main road again. On the way, I was told about a couple of Cheetah just ahead. I stopped where a couple of other cars were, but was unable to see them. Apparently they were behind some bushes and walking away.
At one point in the drive, I stopped – thinking I saw an Ostrich, but it turned out to be branches. Things sure can be deceiving sometimes. 🙂
I did see some large birds a little later – not as large as an Ostrich, but the biggest birds I’ve seen here yet. They were Kori Bustards. No one else seemed interested in them, so I stayed and watched them for a few minutes.
Part way to Lower Sabi, I decided to turn off the main road onto a sand one and have a coffee break. I had my coffee with me and a few crackers to enjoy. I barely got settled than a bunch of cars turned into my quiet little spot. I realized right away that I should have gone further in as they were coming to see what I had found. Most of them laughed when I held up my coffee cup and said I was just stopping for a coffee. A couple of people glared at me though. 🙂 I didn’t want to stop on the tar road because I knew everyone would be stopping.
I drove up to where the Lion and Leopard had been yesterday. The Leopard was gone, but the poor Lion really looked bad. She is very skinny and was just lying there. I hate that I have to go past there in the morning.
I saw several very healthy looking Lions a little later. They were on the sand by the Sabi River.
Besides what I have mentioned already, my sightings include Impalas, Warthogs, Magpie Shrike, Hornbills (both Red and Yellow billed I think), Blue Waxbill, Zebras, Warthogs, Slender Mongoose, Kudu, Marabou Storks, Grey Heron, Elephants, Crocodiles, Hippos, White Storks, Hadeda Ibis, Goliath Heron, Grey Go Away Birds and White Crowned Lapwing. Also saw a few little bats flying around as it was getting dark and a Blue-headed Tree Agama met me when I walked back to reception after checking in at Lower Sabie.
There are also a few birds that fly in and out of the cafeteria area at Lower Sabi. I think some are Village Weavers, some are starlings (not sure if Greater Blue-eared or Cape Glossy, a Black-Collared Barbet and today there was one that looks like a regular House Sparrow.
I checked into my hut at Lower Sabie for a one night stay. This was the only camp I was unable to get the 2 nights that I had planned for.
Right now we are zoomed in – so its obvious that there isn’t an Ostrich in this picture. But, if you see the branch that is shaped like an Ostrich neck and head along with the jumble of branches that resemble the roundish body and realize that from a distance, this really did look like an Ostrich 🙂
Click here to start at the beginning of the trip instead of reading backwards. 🙂