Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Safari

25 February, Satara Camp, Kruger NP (AM)

As corny as it might sound, South Africans really do talk about going 'on safari'. So, yesterday and today, we have been 'on safari'. Our Corolla hire car has had a bit of a workout on the dirt tracks, but we have managed to spot a lot of wild life. Our favourite was a stand-off between a lone bull elephant and a small group of zebra. As we arrived on the scene, the zebra were retreating from a futile attempt to storm past the old guy on what was obviously his chosen path across the plains. A glaring match ensued, involving flapping of ears and head shaking on the part of the elephant and bewildered pacing up and down by the zebra. In the end, discretion proved to be the greater part of valour and the small heard of zebra compromised and detoured around their far superior foe.

So impressive was our list of sightings that it is probably easier to say what we didn't see! Lion, cheetah and leopard are the main characters missing from our script, but we have another three full days of belting our poor Toyota along bush tracks to go, so we are confident of ticking off more of the 'Big Five'. Cameras ran hot all day yesterday but, with a recharge, we are off to 'shoot' more game today.

Accommodation in the two camps we have visited so far is good. Self-contained units with air-conditioning and a view of the bush go for just over $100. Not bad value. Orpen was new and modern, though small. But the Satara camp is showing its age a little.

25 February, Satara Camp (PM)

Tick the cheetah today and a couple of new sightings including kudu and waterbuck. Our cheetah sighting was the thrill of the day. There are only 225 cheetah in the park compared with 12,000 elephants, 3000 lions and 23,000 zebra (most of which we have seen!). The 130,000 impala are the most numerous animals. They are everywhere! Not only was the cheetah sighting fairly rare, but we saw a bit of action as well. We had been watching a herd of mixed impala, zebra and wildebeests drinking at a water hole, when the herd stampeded. Not long after, the cheetah strolled across the rocks and up the hill after the herd. By the time we had driven up the other bank, all we saw was a flash of yellow and dashing, jumping, panicked impala as the cheetah took off after them.

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