Kruger National Park Safari (Second Part)
Until now we had an enjoyable, slow-paced and very up to standard safari and expected to continue. The guide continued to tour us around the park and took us to a water hole where huge elephant huge herd of elephants was playing with the water; there was a baby elephant throwing water with his trunk and others playing with the mud.
It looked like they were giving us a show. After a while the guide tells us: “let’s try and get you to see your leopard…”
We started driving again and then turn south into a gravel road, after a few minutes we noticed we were getting closed to fire. While we continued gong south we passed throw a small river and saw our first and only buffalo cape, stopped for a photo and continued the journey. Soon we started to smell the fire and then got to an open field where there was the fire truck. As we were becoming a little apprehensive the guide went talking with them, asking if we could continue or should head back. we couldn’t listen but them clearly signed to go ahead, so we went… and this happened:
Yes, I filmed it… and those things flying are bugs and were much more than we can see… at one point (when I turn the phone away) it was very hot, we could barely see the road and breathing was becoming very difficult. Anyway we had to continue south as we couldn’t go back to the fire; Despite everything went well, even if we could I don’t think anyone would want to take that risk again.
After a while I noticed that it was getting late, but we were still going south, already near Skukusa and we should be heading back to Satara. It was roughly 16:00 when we saw another tour halted looking into the woods with binoculars. We searched until the guide pointing it’s leopard, over the rock… As we looked and found we noticed it was looking right into us. Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera with zoom to take a quality photo but i don’t think i will forget this leopard (the trouble he got us into) any time soon. In a few minutes we had to go, the guide told us that we had to in the gate until 18:00 or we would be in trouble. Apparently the park closes at that time and we didn’t know it. After a 15 minutes we finally got into tarmac and turned north into Satara. Roughly half way into Satara we saw a black rhino but this time we barely stopped as we were really hurrying, and then a few minutes later another rhino & another herd of elephants.
When we almost in Orpen gate, way past closing time and in almost complete darkness we saw two eyes glowing in the middle of the road, we stopped and there was a huge lion looking straight at the vehicle and walking slowly into it. The lion passed slowly just 3 or 4 meters from us, always looking straight at us, no one in vehicle moved, so photos taken… It was the last adrenaline peak of the day.
This was a hangover day, with a wake up call at 5:00 to have a small bush walk… The walk was just one hour (thank god) and mostly about trees, bushes, animal habits and some stories. The guide told us that there could be leopards in the area, as despite the fences the leopard can climb trees and jump very high, so they can enter and exit easily. This made us regret the decision of sleeping in a tent 🙂
Anyway, we departed to jo’burg after the walk and went to Blyde canyon, which apparently is the 3rd largest in the world. It’s a great site with an amazing viewpoint, however we would need more time to really enjoy the panorama route!
we arrived to Fourways on time, and had one final adventure, the guy driving the van didn’t know where to drop us, and we didn’t have the address with us, neither knew where to go because we had never been there before. But In the end, somehow he managed to get us right where we were supposed to go.
The trip was an adventure, with so many mishaps and turnarounds… If you noticed, we did manage to see the Big 5 (Elephant, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino) and some more (Baboons, Giraffes, hippos) in a day, and with an adrenaline bonus of passing through a fire and having to exit the Kruger Park way past the closing time.