Yesterday morning, when we went to apply for the renewal of the annual Wild Card providing us with access to any of the country’s national parks, we were thrilled that we were in and out of the office at the Crocodile Bridge entrance in less than 15 minutes, new Wild Card in hand. The total cost was ZAR 3245, US $313.87 for one year for both of us.
With an extra battery for the camera, on a cloudy day, we didn’t expect to see much. When most of the wildlife anticipate rain, they take cover. There were a few raindrops here and there, but never enough to keep them from foraging in the depths of the bush and, at times, much to our liking, on or close to the main tarred road in the park.
After entering the gate with Wild Card documents in hand, we began our usual route toward Lower Sabie with a plan to stop at the Mugg & Bean Restaurant for breakfast. It’s a fun stop and rest area with a pleasant restaurant, clean restrooms, and a delightful gift and souvenir shop where I’ve been known to make a few purchases now and then.
Since I rarely, if ever, shop in a store other than a grocery or pharmacy, while in Africa (or any country for that matter), I enjoy spending a few minutes in the gift shop while Tom waits at a picnic table outdoors. It was busy yesterday, mainly with South Africans and some foreigners.
As mentioned above, we didn’t expect to see much and prepared ourselves for this eventuality; I suggested to Tom to stop for the most common wildlife, much of which we already see in our garden in Marloth Park, to ensure we wouldn’t leave the park without any photos to share here.
That proved unnecessary. We were gifted with some of the finest sightings we’ve seen on one day in Kruger National Park. Since we had various experiences, we’ve decided to break them up into posts over several days. We will be including some new information about the specific species we’re representing that day.
Of course, we couldn’t resist starting with the magnificent leopard, our first sighting on the long drive to Lower Sabie. One of the most elusive of the Big Five (except for rhinos who are becoming extinct due to poaching), we couldn’t have been more excited to take the photos we’re posting today of the wonderous sighting, a leopard in a tree. Please excuse how much alike each image is. We waited a long time for her/him to move but no luck.
Here are some facts about leopards from this site:
Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2021: