KNP 2013 ~ 3 October (Day 5)
3 October 2013
We are awake at 4:30am because we are going on a morning walk. It is always a thrill to be the first ones out of the gate and we leave at 5am, thirty minutes before everyone else can. Irwin and Matwell are the rangers with the guns and we are joined by a family from Sweden.
I love walking in the bush. I don’t mind if I don’t see a single animal because for me, it’s not about that. It’s about putting your feet on the ground, smelling the air and goosebumps when you find the place where an elephant slept last night. I can’t tell you how many black rhino middens we have found on morning walks but have yet to see him in the flesh in the Kruger Park.
Last year on a walk with Irwin we had a day for the ages with lions, leopards, hippos and rhinos; this morning, there are no fresh tracks but we can hear a bearded woodpecker. Irwin imitates his knocking noise by tapping on the barrel of his gun with a bullet and soon there is a “conversation” going on. The woodpecker comes to see who this usurper might be and is getting visibly annoyed. What follows is a knocking competition. We leave after a while, allowing the woodpecker the victory. Three hours later, returning to the vehicle, there are fresh lion tracks over our footprints. Goosebumps.
Shower and back on the road for a trip up to Olifants where we had lunch of cheese and crackers while looking at the view. We all have our favourite places and the hubby has arrived at his.
We chose the Balule road to go back to Satara. Good choice because there is the smallest baby ellie I have ever seen. The little guy could barely toddle and was throwing his whole body into the water to get a drink. His trunk and his little legs were not co-operating with the rest of him. This was the most beautiful sighting and I always get a special lift after something like this and find it very hard to concentrate afterwards. He had us rolling in our seats.
On the way up to Olifants I spotted a lioness under a tree (I was proud of this because she was doing a great job of blending in). There was a kill very close but she didn't look as though she would be moving any time soon so we carried on. There were a couple of cars parked up on the return trip and a second lioness was visible; we got a split second glimpse of a cub as they moved back to their kill. While we watched a little hyaena came into view but quickly decided that these girls were too big for him and kept on going.
Once again the time was against us and we had to get back to camp before the gates closed. The speed limit on tar is 50klm per hour and we would have to do that in order to make it. We did stop to take a quick picture of some buffs and then just before the gate was a little african wildcat. We have always been lucky with these little cats at Satara and often see one either just outside or even inside the camp.
Magpie shrikes and a lilac breasted roller
"Ellielujah" was coined by Africam's Gerda. I think of you girl, every time I see a lot of ellies
As for that little ellie, the one who made my day - I wish him a long and happy life in the best place on earth