More rain over night but by the time we were drinking our pre dawn coffee it had gone. As we started our game drive out of the park the sunrise over the river was framed by thick heavy clouds, warning of further rain to come.
The guests I was driving back to Johannesburg had not yet seen lion, so there was a bit of pressure, but with a limit to where and for how long we could do the game drive, I knew not to let that worry me. If the lions were there, then we would be lucky, if they were not, well there is not much one can do about it.
An excellent start to the drive was a small herd of elephant, two adult females, a juvenile and two babies. They browsed in the bushes next to the road for a while, hesitating to cross, another vehicle in their way, before scurrying over in a bunch. Then two spotted hyaenas lying in the middle of the road, seemingly relaxed but keeping a wary eye on the cars negotiating a way around them. Soon after that, a stretch of road with giraffe and zebra, on both sides and crossing ahead of us. Who would believe that it can often be difficult to find these two animals in the south at this time of the year?!
Around the next two corners, and there running towards us down the road were six Wild Dog! What an excitement! These critically endangered predators are a rare sighting indeed!
And we were so lucky, half an hour later we were still in the “front row” watching them play, rest, look interested in some far off impala and wildebeest, roll in their own regurgitated muck ……
Well, we had a plane to catch in Jo’burg, and still a very long way to go, so we moved on at last, leaving the Wild Dog to continue their early morning antics, and, can you believe it, after another 30 minutes of driving we meet another nine Wild Dogs running towards us! No stopping this time though, and we left them to the other tourists to enjoy……..
In the last few kilometres before the Kruger exit, a distant white rhino and two old buffalo bulls showed themselves, and still no lion. But we were all so stunned at the awesome drive we had had, that the lack of lion did not seem so important any more.
Well, that was the end of my week in Kruger – what a wrap up!