Amazing Big Five Day Lion to Leopard

Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -23.9561, 31.4416

Back at Lower Sabie and our days our getting close to being over. This was our last day in Lower Sabie and where should we go? We decided to head down toward Crocodile Bridge taking one of the dirt roads to see what we could see. We had heard the lions at night but decided to try this road and see if some of the predators would be seen. The first thing we saw jumping across the road was a hare of some sort. Unfortunately it was not a spring hare but still was nice to see.

We were not yet to the bridge where there is a nice waterhole for the animals when we saw animals on the road..........two lions walking down the road. The park service had burned the sides of the road since we were last on this road and these lions were walking down the road because evidently it was too warm for them to walk in the bush.

We followed the two lions down the road a ways. It was interesting to see the lions when two local vehicles came past where we were watching them. They wheeled and kind of lunged at the two cars as they went past. Don't know if there is some kind of history here. We continued to watch them walking down the road. At one point they moved off into the burnt area but soon came back out to the road. Now they were leaving black footprints on the tar.

We were still following them and a car coming from the opposite direction had the lions come fairly close to his windows. When the driver drew abreast of our car, he chastised me for having my lights on! Don't know what his issue was, but I had forgotten the lights in the excitement of seeing the lions.

We continued to watch them and then they moved off into the bush. We figured they might go down to the water to get a drink so we wheeled down the road that led to the waterhole. We were the first to head there and startled some people that were drinking tea and watching to see what came up when first our car, then two more then two safari vehicles all come pulling up. We were not disappointed and the lions came out onto the sand and one of them came down to the water but they did seem a little bit nervous. They disappeared back into the bush and we continued on.

Came across a herd of buffalo but they did not cause a traffic jam and in the ride back toward Lower Sabie saw five rhino in various places along the road. We also got to see some large tusked elephants and another jackal. Now the question is, will we see a leopard?

It was now time for our afternoon drive. I wanted to try out the causeway and see if we could see the leopard we had seen there earlier this trip. So, we set off that direction. We were looking down toward the river to see if we could see any of the lions we had seen on earlier trips. We did not see lions but we did see some giraffe and one looked like it was trying to cross the river. We pulled over to watch and see what was going to happen. There was one giraffe on the far shore trying to get to our side of the river. It got about mid-way and then stopped. There were two giraffe on our side and it was like they did not want this giraffe on their side of the river. They seemed to be making some noises we had never heard before. We decided to move on because we could no longer see the animals and there was a "sighting jam" ahead. Stopped and asked some people what was going on. Another "rumor of leopard" but no sighting.

We continued on and turned down the far side of the causeway and enjoyed the drive. It was fairly quiet because we were still during the warm part of the day and most animals were having their siesta.

Got back out to the tar road and started heading back toward Lower Sabie when ...........we were stopped by a major buffalo jam. They seemed to be having a great time of just sitting there on the road or barely moving to the side and them back on the road.

Some of the people that we in the line seemed to have just arrived in the park because they were taking a lot of pictures and did seem ready to try to breach the buffalo. Finally a worker on the other side of the buffalo decided to move on and the herd broke up.

I had hoped to see a leopard on the causeway but we were not to be disappointed because at 4:55 we came upon a very recent sighting of a leopard. The leopard had evidently been seen by two cars and then it passed by their cars and crossed right in front of us. We backed the car around so we could have a good view and watched until it moved out of sight.

So, this day ended with a great hooray, another Big Five Day down to the finish!

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