Kruger Day 4
In the cooler months lions will often sleep on the paved roads to keep warm, so as soon as the camp gates opened at 6:00 we were off and running in search of the big cats again.
There were no other cars on the road, so we thought we stood a good chance of finding the lions, especially as they had recently been seen in the area. In the past you had to rely on other guests at the park, or the game rangers, to spread the news of animal sightings by word of mouth. Not any more. There’s an app for that! It’s called “latest sightings-Kruger” and yes there is also a Facebook page of the same name. We headed off in the direction of the last known sighting, but alas they had clearly moved on, and despite a great deal of time being spent trying to find them, all that we found sleeping on the road were guinea fowl, who were reluctant to move out of the way. They are clearly late sleepers.
The sun was now high in the sky, so we carried on with our game drive, enjoying all the other animals we encountered. We watched a bateleur eagle devouring the meat off an impala carcass in a tree. Brian was snapping photos furiously as usual, and when we stopped later and I checked out the photos, the carcass clearly still had a head and neck attached. The photos had great artistic merit, but somehow seeing the head still attached was very depressing, I will not be posting them on line.
As usual, there were loads of elephants to be seen. I simply cannot get enough of them!
We also came across the cutest giraffe!
We stopped off at the Ntandanyathi hide, but the animals were nowhere to be seen, and were most likely napping, so we decided it was lunchtime and headed to the restaurant at the Lower Sabie camp. Lower Sabie is another big camp with a great shop, and a Mugg and Bean restaurant. Mugg and Bean is a South Africa restaurant chain, and I love their chicken mayo sandwiches, so as much as I enjoy a skottle lunch, I was ready for a chicken mayo sandwich.
Skukuza now has a spa, offering its services at very reasonable prices. I was sorely tempted to try them out – four days of bumping along on dirt roads was taking a toll on my aging body, and with no Jacuzzi in sight, a hot stone massage and a glass of Prosecco was sounding very good. However, I showed tremendous self-control, and decided that I could get a great massage back home, and I didn’t want to miss out on any wild life sightings, so I resisted the temptation. However the younger generation could not miss out of the opportunity, so we dropped them off back at Skukuza and headed to the Lake Panic hide to see what was happening there.
Lake Panic is a very calm and placid place, and no one could tell me why it was named after an anxiety disorder. However, it does have a troubling history. There is a golf course nearby. Don’t ask me why there is a golf course in the middle of a game park, but there is. Anyway, some young golfers were playing golf one evening, and one of them decided to go into Lake Panic to search for golf balls. Not a smart idea. He was instantly taken by a large crocodile, and that was the end of him. He wasn’t even a foreign tourist; he was brought up by parents who work in the park. I suspect alcohol was involved. Never the less a sad story.
There were no errant golf balls, but there was a whole lot going on in the lake, and we had a front row seat from the hide. Four terrapins were sunning themselves on a log, and they didn’t move the whole time we were there.
There were several hippos, some were snoozing, the others were restless, and were noisily getting in and out of the water.
We saw a leopard in the distance come down to have a drink. There were fish eagles in the trees, watching the water intensely for their next meal. Now the sound of a lion roaring at night is our favorite bush sound, but our second favorite sound is the cry of a fish eagle. To us, it is the unmistakable sound of Africa. We love it! We also love fish eagles. We are lucky enough to live in a place where American bald eagles are frequent visitors to our trees. The 2 eagles have many similarities, and I could watch both of them all day.
There were the very elegant African jacanas delicately trotting across the lily pads. In Jamaica they are called Jesus birds, because it looks like they are walking on water!
There were very noisy geese who seemed to be unsure of whether they wanted to fly or stay. The most fascinating bird, however, was a darter. It was amazingly good at catching fish, some of which were huge compared to its size.
Although some of the fish got away, the darter managed to consume what looked like more than its weight in fish while we watched it. I’m sure it had severe indigestion that night.
All too soon the light was fading, and we had to rush back to camp as the gates were about to close, and it was time for another barbecue. Yet another day in paradise as far as I’m concerned!
Some great shots! Reminds us of when we did the same in Kenya several decades ago
Thanks! Kenya is amazing too – I hope you had a great time there. Cruising is fun, but wildlife is my passion!
The picture of the darter with a fish in it’s beak was great. The birds are so interesting – forgot they’d be so different.
Thanks for finding Kruger Day 4 🙂 for us. Too bad about not finding lions, but wow!! lots of other wildlife.
Superb photos! I’ve never been to Kruger but have very happy memories of Tanzanian national parks!
I love Kruger, but the Tanzanian parks are soooooo much better – there is very little in this world that is better than camping in Ruaha National Park, watching the Southern Cross and listening to the lions roar.
Ah yes, the southern stars…the southern sounds…