We scheduled a sunrise safari in Kruger and ended up having a private safari because we were the only ones signed up for the crazy 4:30 am game drive.
The drive was pretty uneventful and I was pretty much regretting getting up so early. Then, near the end of the three hour drive, we came across a male lion walking down the road. We followed right behind him for quite some time before our driver sided up to him. The lion stopped and checked us out a bit. I was quite unnerved because he paused right beside me. These game drives are in open vehicles with nothing but some canvas between us and the wild. They gave us pretty good guidelines to follow to keep from agitating the animals. But, after my experience at the lion park, I was very uncomfortable. I made sure not to make eye contact and even pulled my head to where he couldn’t see me when he was looking up at me. The driver pulled forward and the lion turned and walked in the tall grasses next to the road for quite some time and we followed him.
Corey, Oliver, and I took a daytime drive that would have taken about an hour going the speed limit. It took us four hours because of all the stopping we did to see animals. The views were beyond beautiful! We saw a herd of elephants go into the river to cool off while we were cooling off at the Oliphant camp.
We took another sunset safari drive and I can’t believe what I am about to tell you. Well, first of all, we got to see white rhinos really close up. Then, we saw a male lion drinking in a small pond. As we watched him walk through the bush, we came across three other male lions eating a freshly killed buffalo. Our driver knew something was up when he saw a tree full of vultures. It seems that vultures will gather when lions kill an animal and will stay until the lions finish, before going in for the scraps.
The lions were quite close to us; but I wasn’t concerned this time because they were much more interested in the buffalo than in us. At one point, they had a little tiff over who got to gnaw on the head. They were snarling and pawing at each other until one gained control of the head and froze to keep the others off of it. It was like something out of National Geographic! As we left the lions, we came across a hyena heading their way. Our driver explained that since the wind was toward the lions, the hyena would not smell the fresh kill and was unknowingly walking toward his own death since the lions will kill him if he comes too near.