2 December 2017 –
We haven’t seen cats for a few days and were feeling a little restless about it as it’s Tony and Pat’s last full day in The Park. It would be nice to get one last sighting of a predator for them.
I suggested we drive to Tshokwane for breakfast because lions and leopard had been seen in that area. Everybody agreed.
Before we left camp we found this chap foraging on the neighboring campsite.
We drove the scenic route along the river and took all the loops we could.
There was a lull in sightings when all of a sudden we jerked to attention. Something was crossing the road ahead of us. Leopard, cheetah – No LION! We all got an eyeful of her and then she was gone. Maybe some more would follow and cross over too. We waited a few minutes but nobody came. Just a little ahead we saw a stationary car. As we approached I saw them – lion lying under a tree. A farewell gift for our friends,
The other car left and we had them to ourselves for a while. Suddenly another lion appeared and then two of them got up together to change position and flop down again
What an awesome sighting. But wait – there’s more. We drove on a little further and spotted two more lionesses lying on a log. There was a lot of foliage blocking them so we didn’t get photos but enjoyed seeing them get up and stretch before settling back down again.
We were thrilled at this sighting which was just before we got to our breakfast stop. At Tshokwane we were amused when this pied barbet settled on a plate and himself to scraps! I’ve never seen a barbet do that before.
On our return we concentrated on bird watching and enjoyed seeing a common duiker, giraffe and zebra. As we approached the lion spot a car stopped us and said there were male lions up ahead. Our females had left but these boys had settled in close by to where they had been. The one remained asleep but the other gave us a bit of entertainment.
When we came to the place where we expected to find a leopard on the rocks, we got a klipspringer instead!
We decided to take a long midday break as it was really hot again today. We swam in the pool a few times and only went to Lake Panic later in the afternoon for an hour. I would be quite happy to spend an entire day in this hide as even on a slow day interesting things happen. You have to sit very quietly in a hide and at first you might think there is nothing there but when you really look you start to see things. It took a while for us to notice that a Jacana at the far end of the pond had four chicks that must have been just out of their eggs. Father Jacana looks after the kids while Mom goes off to find another mate and another nest in which to lay her eggs.
Once again it was a perfect evening and just as we were enjoying Magnum Ice-creams for dessert I heard a rustle at the paper packet that we use for a bin. I yelled and it ran away. I suspected it was a honey badger but I caught sight of something smaller. African wild cat perhaps? The cheeky creature came back again and Pat said – shine your torch on it which I did and saw it was a bushbaby!. At that moment Pat and Tony’s daughter was Skyping from New Zealand. Chaos ensued as we raced to see if we could find the intruder. We found him behind the caravan on the branch of a tree. He wasn’t at all concerned and just stared at us from his safe vantage point. Tony was able to show his daughter, Maria, the naughty creature.
Sadly tonight is the last one in the park for P&T as tomorrow they will make their way back home. We still have a few more days before heading back to Kokstad.