We decided to wake up a little later this morning and do breakfast before going out. The plan was to have brekkie ready by 7 and leave at 7:30 but we ended up leaving a tad later than that. The weather was once again cool in the morning, 9 degrees C at 8 a.m. but warming up to the late twenties by midday.
We did a short drive in the morning with a view to returning to Skukuza by midday and going to Lake Panic for a couple of hours as the sun would be in the right place to facilitate good photography. Heather in particular was keen to get to Lake Panic a.s.a.p. and Earl kept teasing her that we wouldn’t make it. He wanted to find cats first!
Our first sighting of the day was an early morning Steenbok. Earl then burst out laughing when he spotted a baboon at the apex of a very tall tree. He must have had a fabulous view from up there.
Our birding stops provided us with green pigeons, golden breasted buntings, blue waxbills, cardinal woodpeckers and crested barbets amongst others.
Rhino although highly vulnerable to poachers and many are unnecessary lost to the most horrific slaughter were seen often.
We were amused by an interesting sighting of young zebra and giraffe on a play date! One seemed to be saying Mom, he called me a long neck. But you do have a long neck darling. Yes but he said it meanly. Well just tell him he’s a streepgat!
At the top of the hill there is a lookout point where you can get out and survey the scene. We noticed a school bus spilling out a dozen or so teenaged boys from Pretoria Boys High School. I chatted to one of them who was extremely polite and he told me they belonged to the school’s wildlife society and that this was an annual visit organized by a couple of their teachers. What a wonderful thing to do with a group of interested boys. They were staying outside the camp and this was their last day. During their week in Kruger they had seen everything and had had a thoroughly good time.
Earl took a road along which we’d seen cheetah on previous trips and insisted that we would see them there again. We were agitating to get to Lake Panic but he ignored our nagging. Suddenly he said oh no we weren’t supposed to see lions! and there in right in front of us a single lion crossed the road.
Peter alerted us to more in the bush and we sat and watch no less than 12 very young lion cross over into the bush and disappear.
We were alone with this sighting but alerted other cars to what had occurred. We saw them in the distance as we travelled on and another car told us they had seen just one lion walking in the bush. That is simply being in the right place at the right time!
Still on this high we made our way to Skukuza stopping for a brief look at warthogs and a longer one for a saddle billed stork in a small pond.
We took a short loo and coffee break at camp and then went to Lake Panic, just 10 minutes away.
We couldn’t have chosen a better time to visit. The hide was full but we Heather Peter and I found a spot together and Earl was slightly round the corner. We have wonderful views of Goliath Heron, pied kingfishers and a mother and baby hippo. The baby couldn’t have been more than a week old and Mom was so protective. There were no other hippos about.
The hide emptied and we made our way to where Earl was sitting and found more herons, a crocodile sunning himself on the bank, many black crake and more kingfishers. The hippos swam to this end too and we observed them emerge form the water and rests on the bank. The photos tell the story.