OMG- Lions, and Leopards, and Rhinos- Oh My. Today was incredible. But let me start at the beginning. We flew from Jozi to Neispruit, then a 3 hour drive to Sabi Sands, our private game lodge "Arathusa", next to the Kruger National Park. The lodge is a wonderful oasis in and of itself. We did a quick night ride and saw a pride of lions, 4 adults and 5 cubs. It was so thrilling.
What people try to see are the big 5- lions, leopards, rhinos, cape buffalo, and elephants. This morning we saw 4 of them, all but the cape buffalo. We have seen 3 different prides of lions, Sahara- the wonderful local leopard, a mother and baby rhino, and about 4 elephants, along with Impalas, Kudu, giraffe, zebra, mongooses, and hippos.
The afternoon safari starts around 4 and goes for 3 1/2 hours. After such an incredible morning, I wasn't too sure about the pm drive. Well, I was wrong. We went to the spot where a leopard had drug her catch, an impala, up the tree to keep it safe from predators. So the 1/2 eaten Impala was there with leopards no where in sight. Our guide Roy found the female leopard in another tree resting after a Thanksgiving size dinner, see photo. All she needed was the Detroit Lions playing! Next we found the male, equally stuffed. We followed him to a water hole.
Next we saw a cape buffalo. I think these are the hardest to find. We photographed him for awhile, then later saw a bigger group of them.
Just when I thought it couldn't get better, we came upon another pride of lions trying to devour a freshly killed giraffe. They could care less about us, but did not want another lion to get more than they did. We will check this out in the am, for the giraffe should last 2-3 days, assuming males lions don't chase away the pride, and the hyenas are kept at bay.
Our guide, Jason, told us that it is extremely unusual to see all 5 in one day. We are constantly amazed by the animals and the " circle of life" as Elton would say. It is truly an incredible experience.
Gotta get to bed, 5:30 rolls around pretty quickly.