It was a very wet morning for the morning drive, but I walked over to the pick up spot to go any way. I was there all alone at 4:45, but then a family of 3 arrived to keep me company. The driver and vehicle arrived a few minutes later.
The first thing Darryl (our guide) said to us was that the seats were very wet and he was right. He also advised us that the blankets had been very wet, so he removed them. I was also pretty wet at that point, since I walked over and waited under shelter until he arrived. The family had waited in their car and offered me a spot, but I knew I wouldn’t be getting dry soon anyway.
We loaded into the vehicle and sat on the wet seats and were soon on our way – just the 4 of us and Darryl. After about 5 minutes, the family decided they didn’t want to go. The rain was coming down and we were all getting very soaked. Darryl turned around and brought them back. I asked if we could still go with just me and he said I could and also that I could get up front with him. It was much dryer and warmer up front and that is how we did the drive in that great big vehicle.
We both still got wet, since rain builds up on the canvas roof and drips down – but nowhere near as wet as sitting in the back.
First critters seen was a Kudu bull. Otherwise there were dozens of Crowned Lapwings on the road and several frogs hopped across in the rain. We also saw Impala. I did not get pictures of anything at this point, since it was still dark and very wet. Once it got light out, we could look around more, but still not much showed up until we were almost back to camp.
Suddenly a Lioness stepped out onto the road right in front of us. If we had driven by one minute earlier we would have missed this sighting. Then another Lioness, followed by 2 more. Then the cubs! Eight sweet Lion cubs came out and stood there in front of us. As they started to follow the adults, we saw 2 more adult Lionesses behind the cubs. All but 2 of the cubs followed the first adults and the last 2 turned and followed the last 2 adults, who did not come right out to the road. Within 3 minutes they had all vanished from sight, but what a sweet sighting that was.
Almost all the pictures were taken through the raindrops on the windscreen, but for me, the quality of the pics do not distract anything from this amazing sighting!
I just received information from the experts on the Facebook page – Lions of Kruger National Park – that this is the Lubyelubye pride.
Another 3 km down the road and there was a Cape Buffalo. Finally, I have finished my 2nd Big Five and the lions have started my 3rd!
We also stopped to watch some Hippos and then some Baboons, right near camp.
I was still wet by the time we got back, so I had to change into dry clothes. The rain has been intermittent since then – stopping for 20 minutes or so and then raining again for several minutes.
I have been trying to get hold of Avis for the last few days, so get a few things corrected on my forms, but the phone number didn’t seem to work. I finally asked at Reception here what number would be for them and it was slightly different from what was on the form they gave me. I tried that number and finally got to talk to someone. He is going to call me back (hopefully) so I will know if they are going to exchange the car or not. I told him about the mistakes on the form and he said ok, but I guess I don’t get a corrected copy.
I wandered over to Sunset Dam to sit and drink my coffee and took a picture of an Egyptian Goose. It wasn’t until I downloaded the pics that I saw the tiny Crocodile beside him. I also took pictures of the Hippos, Water Thick-knees and the Wattled Starlings.
After lunch I took a drive down a few different roads and a guy from Avis called me back. At that point, I had failed to see the 2 Cheetahs lying down under a bush in the tall grass that everyone in the larger & taller vehicles could see. I also saw and took pictures of a Cape Buffalo, some Kudu and and a scenic view.
Anyway, Avis is sending out a guy right now to bring me another vehicle, so this one can have its 30,000 km service in time. He should be here by 4:00 pm so he can get back to Skukuza by gate close time at 5:30. I filled the car with gas when I got back to camp.
While waiting for the Avis guy, I took some pictures of a couple of little Striped Skinks that were on my fence. One was really tiny and the other was pretty big for these guys.
Now I have my new car. It is a white Chevrolet instead of a silver Hyundai. I’ll give it it’s first trial tomorrow when I head out to Satara.
Click here to read from the beginning of my trip.
Click here for the next post.