This mornings 5am wake up knock felt a bit too early but the sun had been up for a while and the excitement of what we might find today helped get us out of the plush bed and soft sheets. The cool morning air awoke our senses and the tracking began. Sidwell and Kjell found lion tracks almost immediately and the chase was on. But, it appears as though the lions had been very busy overnight and early in the morning as their tracks crossed, doubled back, stopped and started again. While trying to find the big cats, we came upon a herd of cape buffalo in an open area. Likely that’s what the lions had been following as well. We watched the herd graze and laze around for a while but soon they got up and wandered off to find a shady daytime spot.
From there we bounded off through the bush looking for the final two of the Big 5 we hadn’t yet spotted – the elephant and the leopard. Last year when we were here we saw an abundance of elephants but they’ve been scarce here lately Kjell thinks because the water holes are becoming more scant with the lack of heavy rainfall. That’s also why we haven’t seen hippo here this time. We traveled to the far southeast corner of the game reserve where kjell thought he’d try one water hole that might – just might – have signs of elephant activity. Sure enough our fearless leader took us right to a fairly large bull Ellie having a drink at the water trough. Beautiful. There is a wisdom in an elephants eye that makes me content while also wondering what they’re thinking. This guy drank for a while, shoveling large trunkfulls of water into his mouth and down into what sounded like a cavern. He watched us for a while, scratched his bum on the concrete water trough and then ambled of through the bush.
Sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to get out of the truck and wrap my arms around the massive pillar-like legs or pat their trunks between their tusks. But thankfully, I do.
Back to the lodge for fresh fruits, freshly made scones and eggs benedict – delish! At the moment, everyone else has gone off to sit in a hide for a couple of hours to see what happens by. Cameron went to Charley’s Hide and Sue, Casey & Steph (the other guests here with us visiting from Melbourne Australia) went to see what was happening at Thomas’ Dam. Both have water holes to look over so on this very hot afternoon theres a pretty good chance they’ll see some sort of wildlife stopping by for a cool drink of water. As for me, I’m about to take a dip in the pool, read a little and most likely have a snooze. Tomorrow we have the first leg of our driving adventure where we will head west towards the Botswana border and cross just into Botswana – about 7 km from the looks of it. Should be pretty cool as we have to cross the Limpopo river, which is mostly dry at the moment, to get into botswana. One side of the river is South Africa, the other side Botswana, and in the riverbed, no mans land.
Off to relax and prepare for tonights game drive. If only the elusive spotted cat would come out for us … Heeeeeere kitty kitty!