|Stunning female lion – #3 (second lion photo in today’s post)|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|Spoon-billed storks, our first-time sighting in Kruger National Park.|
It was 5:00 am this morning and the four of us, (including friends Tom and Lois) were dressed, lathered up in insect repellent, with cameras and binoculars in hand and ready to head out the door.
|#1 – Elephants|
Louise and Danie had bid and won an auction for a six-hour morning safari with a guide in a traditional nine-seat safari vehicle to Kruger National Park and they insisted the four of us take it when they didn’t have time to use it due to their busy schedule. Part of the safari included breakfast at the Mugg & Bean (at our own expense).
|#2 – Rhino|
It was definitely an early start to the day for us but fortunately, after retiring early, we all had a good enough night’s sleep to make awakening so early easier than anticipated.
|#3 – Lion|
Another couple staying in Marloth Park was already situated in the furthest back and highest situated seat of the vehicle when Kerry from Kruger Pride Safaris arrived in our driveway. We all hopped in, with Tom and I in the front seat behind our guide with Tom and Lois behind us.
|#4 – Leopard|
As always, our expectations were low. If we didn’t see much, we’d accept it and enjoy the good time we knew we’d be spending together. By 5:30 am, we entered the park as Kruger opened its gates to visitors.
|#5 – Cape buffalo|
No more than 10 minutes into the drive, we spotted a rhino. We hadn’t seen a rhino in the past few months when they appeared at the loop close to the Verhami Dam. Please click this link for the most recent rhino post.
We weren’t able to get a perfect photo of the rhino based on her/his position but we were content to have seen one of The Big Five and wondered if somehow the day would bring us sightings of the remaining four animals: lion, leopard, cape buffalo and elephants.
|#6 – Jackal|
The day continued blissfully. We couldn’t have planned it more perfectly. Within the first few hours, we’d accomplished The Big Five. We were all giddy with excitement.
|#7 – Hyenna|
From there, magic happened, one sighting after another, far surpassing any sightings we could have ever imagined. Our adrenalin was pumping while our expressions of sheer delight sent each of us into a frenzied level of enthusiasm.
|#8 – Cheetah|
Charles, in the way-back, had an eagle’s eye and was able to spot the wildlife we were searching for when Kerry was notified by other guides using the app, Whatsapp, informing her of sightings they’d encountered along the way.
Kerry was masterful at quickly getting us to the relevant locations and maneuvering the vehicle in such a way we were able to take the best possible photos. Although many of the animals were at quite a distance, we were thrilled to get those we did.
|#9 – Wild dogs|
As we saw more, Kerry informed us of other categories beyond “The Big Five” all the way from the “Sensational Seven” to the “Ridiculous Nine.” In fact, if there had been a category referred to as the “Exception Eleven” we could have easily included it after the “Ridiculous Nine” which would have included, beyond the nine…hippos and crocs.
And even further we could have included giraffes, impalas, kudu, wildebeest, warthogs and an endless variety of birds, one species of which is included in today’s “Sighting of the Day in the Bush.”
|Tom, Lois, Kerry (our guide) me and Tom.|
“Pinch me,” I asked. Is this really happening? Is this the epitome of “safari luck” perhaps inspired by the attendance of our friends Tom and Lois who may also be recipients of safari luck as well.
Over the next several days we’ll be adding Part 2, Part 3 and so on as we’ll continue to share many more photos of the above shown “nine” while we revel in the excitement of this very special day.
Sorry for the late post. But as you can see, it was quite the spectacular day!
Photo from one year ago today, October 12, 2017:
|Puente Ferrocarril Rio Grande Museum in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more details, please click here.|