Have you ever had one of those days when just about everything goes wrong? I’m sure you have. How about one when absolutely everything goes right? We recently had a diamond day in Kruger National Park. We visit parks often and this has to have been our best time ever anywhere. Let me tell you about it.
We left our campsite at Satara, planning to make our way slowly to Lower Sabie. We hadn’t driven far when we saw a pride of ten lions in the bush next to the road.
The left the grassy area and walked along the road in front of us for about two kilometers.
Apart from seeing so many lions at one time, we were delighted to watch the young cubs playing games with each other as their parents walked purposefully ahead. There were about six cubs of various ages, three older lionesses and one male lion. What a sight that was. Our best ever close up sightings of so many of these beautiful animals.
Feeling like things couldn’t get much better than this, we continued driving towards Lower Sabie. It wasn’t long before we came across a number of parked cars and realized that the folks were watching something special. This time it was a magnificent male leopard walking beside the road.
I turned our car around so that Rob could take photos and the leopard obliged by walking next to us and then sitting down at the side of the road.
What a sight he was. We were absolutely blown away by this incredible animal.
When the leopard eventually disappeared into the bush, we happily continued on our drive. Our next bonus was another sighting of lions, a male and female. Once again we were in the perfect position for photos and we made the most of our special time with them.
At the Mafagalamba Dam, close to the Tshokwane picnic area, we spotted a mother cheetah with three cubs. She left her cubs briefly to drink at the dam.
Whilst there she spotted an impala and immediately gave chase. We held our breath thinking that we would see a kill, but the impala managed to escape and the cheetah made her way back to her cubs.
With that, a lioness appeared and saw an opportunity to have a cheetah cub for a meal. The cheetah hastily departed with her three cubs. Here was another chance for us to watch a chase!
There was a flurry of activity in a bush as the lioness caught up with them. Unfortunately by then it was too far away for us to see what happened – we can only hope that the cubs escaped safely and that the mother took on the lioness. We will never know the outcome, but our day was getting better and better!
By this time it was almost sundown and we were making our way back to our campsite, when we came across a smallish bird sitting in the road. On closer inspection it turned out to be a Harlequin Quail – a lifer for us.
I was concerned that it would be run over by a passing car, so I opened my window and flapped a towel near it. The quail flew off into the safety of the bush. Our day was over and it will be etched into our memories as the most amazing one ever in any game reserve. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been witness to the best that the bush could offer in a single day.