Once again out the gate when it opened at 6:00am. Headed south from Satara camp and got our first new mammal sighting of the day sitting by the roadside. Spotted Hyena. A juvenile sat up nicely only a couple of metres from our vehicle, giving us a great look at it.
I find it hard to describe exactly what we are seeing. The sheer abundance of wildlife. As we drive along it's like 'giraffe', 'zebra', 'impala', until people just stop calling it or we would be stopping every minute.
Our main targets today were rhino and leopard, the two of the Big 5 that we were yet to see.
In the morning it is very cold, everyone rugs up as we drive around in the open-air vehicle. Fog hangs over the bushveld and clouds cover the sky. The animal activity is relatively quiet initially because the temperature is so low, but the animals are there and we saw a decent herd of zebra heading for water.
At one point we stopped by the river and found an impressive group of ten or so waterbuck, including a big male and some babies.
Breakfast was at Tshokwane Picnic Spot where Vervet Monkeys live. It was law of the jungle and we had to fight for our food, fending off monkeys and starlings as we ate. The mischievous monkeys also raided our vehicle but our tour guides chased them off.
Further along we drove up a hill stopping at a lookout at the top. From the lookout we gazed across the endless savannah, spotting a mixed herd of zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and impala.
Another picnic area by the water held hippos and a herd of elephant came in to drink.
At every stop we checked for birds, picking up new species at all of them. Beauties such as Mocking Cliff Chat, Giant Kingfisher and Grey-headed Bushshrike.
Our next mammal sighting was a special one. Two white rhino, a mother and calf. They were a little way off but with binoculars we got great views. Then we spotted another three, another mother and calf and a male. A little further down the road we got two more. Seven rhino! Incredible! Sadly, rhino are being poached at a rapid rate in Kruger, and at the current rate they will be extinct in the park by 2022. Yes, just 5 years. Last year, 240 poachers were caught, 90 of those shot dead.
We managed to spot Fiery-necked Nightjar sitting up nicely on a stump for us and our final sighting of the night was a puppy pile of hyena on the side of the road, pretty darn cute.
A steakhouse at Skukuza camp for dinner and then finally to bed after a very long but very rewarding day.