SOUTH AFRICA AUGUST 2018
After returning to Jo’burg we take the short hop to Skukuza, the gateway to the Kruger Park. There is a swanky brand new airport and we head off straightaway to Sabi Sands, returning to the excellent Nottens Bush Camp we last visited eight years ago. Three rhino greet us on arrival. The place is crammed with wildlife and on our first drive we see a leopard eating an impala in a tree while two hyena wait patiently below; wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, warthog, and a pair of male lions dossing by the track. Coming back into camp, a leopard is drinking from the swimming pool. As the days roll by, the species keep coming. Elephant with cute babies. Baby rhino. Hyena on the track. A herd of 300 or more buffalo. More leopard. Bush baby. Mongoose. And a hyena drinking from the fountain in camp, while a leopard skulks under our balcony. Birds of prey spring into action: bateleur eagles, a lizard buzzard eating a snake, vultures sitting ominously in a tree, tawny eagles, and more.
There are leopards every day. Two have been fighting and one had eye wounds and cuts for his trouble. On more than one occasion they obligingly climb termite mounds to offer great photographic opportunities. We sit in amongst herds of buffalo and elephant. Then a very rare sighting – a honey badger burrowing under a tree and then loping off into the bush. Evenings are spent in the boma round a roaring fire, on one of them accompanied by a brilliant choir singing local songs.
Sabi Sands in a private reserve is a great way to experience safari. Straight down the world from the UK, there is no jet lag. Language, food and other travel elements are not an issue. And you are pretty much guaranteed the big five, plus a lot more.