There are some antelope you don’t spot very often in Kruger. Sable, Roan, Tsessebe, Reedbuck and Hartbees are the ones to look out for. Eland are apparently not that rare up north but I have never seen one in Kruger. Not that we’ve ever been up north :-/
We saw these two Sable close to Skukuza from either (can’t remember) the bridge over the Sand River or the bridge over the Sabie. At the limits of the 600mm lens and no, the lens is OK, it’s heat haze that messes up the photograph (click to embiggen to on-the-camera resolution). This was around half past ten in the morning. Yea, it’s too hot out there by half past ten in the morning.
This one was close to Pretoriuskop, which is their stomping ground. He was in the middle of the road when we saw him but disappeared into the bushes real quickly and did not stay around for long.
After going for a morning drive somewhere where we saw a chubby unicorn with her calf, off in the distance, we returned to camp for a loo break and then headed off in the other direction.
Found a roadblock just after Lubyelubye. Saw that the roadblock was following a few lions who were headed in our direction. Which means that we were suddenly at the front of the queue.
I pulled into the Lubyelubye viewpoint and we saw threefour lions pass.
Now people were cruising the road, trying to spot the lions. I decided to go long and drove to the first place where we could actually see over the shrubbery and rocks (problem with a flat car) and stopped. There was not much happening.
Tanya spent some time photographing this dwarf mongoose. A herd of impala came across the road, went down to the river. We had just decided that most likely the lions had flopped into the shade somewhere when there was a movement and impala running everywhere. Then it was quiet again.
And then a lion popped over the river bank with most of a very small impala in his jaws. Tanya was so excited she photographed a bush (this bush turned out to be a pain in the autofocus).
He’s carrying the head, but I think he left the hindquarters behind.
Then another lion popped over the bank, with more bits of impala (there was another one off to the right which we couldn’t really photograph through the bushes. I think there were five lions and I think they caught three impala between them).
Of course one gets uninvited guests.
And then a crocodile came to investigate.
By now we’d been here for about an hour and we couldn’t leave if we had to. Cars all around us. Fortunately for them we had a flat car, so people could see over our roof. But the bushes are a pain. We need a non-flat car.
Remember what I said about this bush being a pain?
On the way out of camp, we hit a roadblock. Tanya hands me the camera with the wide lens, “it’s on auto” (i.e. if the lion goes for it, I just need to hold the shutter button down, the camera will fill the SD card).
Would have made a great sequence. Didn’t happen.
Lion figured “enough of this”, buggered off into the bushes.
We saw another roadblock bit further on, went to investigate.
We found this critter… somewhere* On all our previous trips, we had only seen white rhino. This was our first black. To miss-appropriate Ruark, “looks at you like you owe him money”.
This was our second.
(How do you know it’s a black rhino? It ran away… seriously, black rhino are very shy).
And a bit down the road we found these two. They were not going anywhere. White, obviously… §
Next day we found a white rhino cow and calf, far away. And that was it for rhino this time around.
* There’s this theory that the poachers use the internet to find out where the rhino are. But the rhino move around. So they are not there even ten minutes later, never mind the… four weeks and counting since this happened. OK, maybe they’re back there… or maybe not. Who knows. What we do know is that there are rhino in the Kruger, and that a poacher can get on a hill with a pair of binoculars and find them that way. But OK Karen, location of rhino not disclosed.
§ In case you don’t know, it’s all about the mouth. The white rhino is actually the wide-mouth rhino, misheard or mispronounced or whatever. It feeds on grass, head-down. The black rhino has a sharper mouth and feeds on bushes. They’re both black in colour.
He was favouring his hind leg — good news is it looked a whole lot better when we saw him again later in the day. Prolly got himself kicked by a zebra or something.
In the shade of the dam wall.
And on the other side, in the shade of a tree.
Nothing much was happening so we went off, came back later.
There were elephant at the water hole, being watched very intently by the lions, who had moved off into the bushes.
But the elephants smelled them and chased them away. This all happened in the bush so no pics, sorry. The lions basically went to ground, with the male actually moving further than the two females. We then watched the females slowly moving back towards the dam, eventually the male joined them (the three on the other side had moved off somewhere that way, they also came back later).