A Touch Too Close

Again an early, 6:00am, start to the day to get to Lake Panic before the rush hour. On the way down we spotted three Hyenas sleeping at the roadside, what looked to be a mother and two youngsters, they dozed around, stirring only briefly. Lake Panic was its usual self with all the usual suspects in attendance, only today there were two guest appearances; a Malachite Kingfisher and a pair of Saddle Billed Storks. The tiny, iridescent Malachite darted around, flitting from perch to perch to get the best view of breakfast before snatching an unfortunate fish from the larder. The Saddle Bills appeared together and stayed around for an hour helping themselves to the fresh supplies. A pair of Bushbuck wandered into the wetland nibbling away at the tender shoots growing at the edges.

Hyena Saddle Bill Malachite

A short drive around the Skukuza loop to Olifant Pan took a couple of hours in the early afternoon where a few of the common mammals and birds were spotted including a couple of Lilac Breasted Rollers have a scrap in the dust until one was victorious. We were held up in a Kruger traffic jam where 200-300 Buffalo meandered slowly across the road for what seemed like ages. Soon we parked up at Olifants and witnessed a herd of Elephants cooled off in the waters of the pan, the matriarch leading the way. There were also a small number of Hippos basking at the water’s edge on a hot winter’s afternoon.
The day ended with an organised ‘bush walk’ with two of the parks knowledgeable rangers. Only five minutes into the walk we stumbled upon a pride of 12-15 Lions with their cubs, this could have been a really dangerous situation but we saw them before they saw us! Initially they were 50-60 metres away but we beat a hasty detour. As soon as they saw us they ran off in the opposite direction. Always at the back of mind was the fact that we had to return to the area on the route back. We also saw at close hand Black and White Rhino middens, termite mounds, and various type of animal dung!

Ellie Buffalo Lions on the bush walk

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