Today we enjoyed mild temperatures with a low of 19 degrees C and a high of 25. The Earl and I left camp at half past seven and did the route that Cathy and Alec did yesterday while they tried some other roads.
We started on the Matjulu loop and stopped when we saw two stationary cars. “What have they seen?” asked the Earl. I scanned with my binoculars and spotted something half hidden by a bush – “Lion,” I said. But the Earl could not see it. However, he’d spotted his friend, Jim just up the hill and he headed toward him. “Don’t move!” I yelled. “We have a perfect spot here. The lion is moving.” But he ignored me and went to chat to JIm and Maureen who could just make out the lions from where they sat. I was not pleased to lose our spot and insisted the Earl return. Instead he continued to the dam at the end of the road.
“Stop,” I yelled. He thought I meant stop and turn back for the lions so he just drove on. “Stop, Bird!” I insisted. So he stopped and I got a photo of a brown snake-eagle.
It wasn’t far to the end of the road and the waterhole where the Earl intended to turn around but I hoped it wouldn’t be too late to see the cats. I didn’t want to delay the return but who can resist taking a quick look at a waterhole scene. There were zebra having their morning drink.
And then they bounded up the embankment to cross over in front of us.
“Go, go, go!” I urged the Earl. We have to see the lions.
When we got back to the scene, Jim was still in his spot but the other cars except for one had gone.
“Oh no, they’re hiding behind the bush so now we won’t be able to see them,” I lamented. The Earl parked at the spot where I’d first seen one and low and behold a cub emerged from behind the bush and tried to chase an impala!
Soon a few more members of the family appeared. We watched them regroup and then they all ran across the road in front of us and disappeared into the bush.
All of this happened in half an hour and after the pride had disappeared into the bush we continued with on the S114 with Jim and Maureen following. We stopped to photograph some lovely Kudu standing on an outcrop of rocks and staring into the distance.
At the end of the road, J&M went left and we continued along the Crocodile Bridge Road.
Ground Hornbills seem to like us because they have appeared to say hello almost every day. We’re not complaining. They’re fascinating birds.
At half past nine we turned onto the Mlamambane Loop. We kept a close eye on the riverbed for animals and birds. Just ahead of us we noticed a single stationary car. We thought he might be birdwatching but as we got closer I spotted her – Lion – I called.
From where we were we could see a campervan parked in a loop closer to the river bed and, wondering what they were looking at, we went down to join them. When we came alongside them they told us that there were ten lions on the rocks to the left. It was a pride of several males, females and cubs. The males seemed to be very good dads and were allowing the cubs to pull on their manes and bite their ears and tails. It was wonderful to watch.
Jim and Maureen appeared from the opposite direction and enjoyed the sighting with us.
After spending some lovely time with this pride we continued to Gardenia Hide where we found a single male giraffe.
Some aliens were sunning themselves on the rocks. Seems they want to meet Uncle Cyril.
Outside the hide we found a few birds flitting about
By this time we were getting hungry so we made our way to Afsaal picnic site where we met up with Alec and Cathy. We told them about the lions on the Mlamambane Loop and they made their way to the scene after lunch but there were only two visible when they got there.
After lunch we visited Renoster Pan and found some impala, wildebeest, zebra, a Dark Chanting Goshawk and a Malachite Kingfisher.
At another waterhole we enjoyed watching a giraffe drinking.
Just before getting back to Berg-en-Dal we saw elephants but the resident Berg-en-Dal leopard has still not made an appearance. Maybe tomorrow!