We saw herds of impala, wilderbeest (Gnu), buffalo, elephants, zebra, and kudu. We saw many pairs of rhinos and sometimes rhino calves, and warthogs. We saw a hyena, a cheetah, a nyala, bunch of baboon, a genet, hares and tortoise, bushbuck, duker, banded mongoose, and another mongoose. We also saw many kinds of birds.We had some amazing unexpected encounters. We stopped on a narrow section of road to let a car from the opposite direction pass, when suddenly I looked to the left (I was driving) and saw three rhino just 5 meters away! The closest was a female facing us, and a male was trying to mount her from behind. Karen and Gina on the near side of the car both started to take pictures and I immediately started moving the car forward, but they both said “STOP” (they wanted to take pictures). I said “Are you crazy?!” – that rhino might move any second. I moved us a few feet forward and sure enough the rhinos moved right into the road and stopped the other car from moving. It was an impasse for a few moments, but the female rhino snorted and turned towards the male and he ran off. She was having none of him. A few moments after that several elephants crossed the road, we got this great shot of a baby elephant waving its trunk at us. Then as we went down the road we had a large bull elephant appear just a few feet off the road next to us. He clearly saw us and moved to a tree and pushed it up several feet showing us how big he was (as a warning I think). We got some good pictures and moved carefully away.
That night we went on a guided tour and we got to see a pride of lions. All of my night photos were taken with a video camera which I need to process still, so you’ll have to wait for those photos. We also had a close encounter with a giraffe who crossed right in front of our truck appearing in our headlights suddenly. That was when we saw several of the nocturnal animals I mentioned in the list.
The next morning, we hired the same guide to take us on a early morning trip. That’s when we saw our first giraffe in daylight on a far away ridge. The guide also spotted a hyena on a far ridge. We didn’t find the lion in the spot from the night before. We did spot several more pairs of rhinos, another herd of elephant and many impala, nyala, kudu, etc. We literally saw hundreds of animals in 24 hours.
I had been disappointed initially at the fact the weather got cloudy and even sprinkled rain. But, the guide told us far more animals are seen when its not sunny. Before noon, we drove an hour towards the east to St Lucia. There we planned to visit iSimangaliso Wetland Park. They also have a wide range of African wildlife, and lots of wetland animals like hippos. We took a river tour in the evening, a night guided tour (which was a bit of a disaster which I’ll write about later), and a drive through the eastern park the next day.The river boat tour was the highlight. We saw many hippos in the water, and saw some amazing hippo action. We also saw a couple of nile crocodile, and a wide range of birds. My two favorite birds were the Fish Eagle, and the beautiful large Goliath heron. We went on the evening tour, and it was the best time to go apparently.
Here is a small album of about 25 photos showing a highlight of the animals. I still need to process some of the night photos which include the pride of lion we saw. I’ll try to do more posts with more photos this week.