By 10AM Thursday January 5 we were on the slow, meandering path north, enjoying a game drive en route to a 2 night stay at Satara camp in central Kruger. We passed hundreds of bushbuck, kudu, nyala and other hoofed species along the way, then some giraffes and at 1030 we see a half dozen cars pulled over and find… a small pride of lions. We watch fascinated for 10 minutes; one has a bloody face and a full stomach as it ambled across the road feet from our van.
Many of the trees here are scarred, bent or broken from elephant rubbing and pushing on them… a good sign. A kilometer north we started to see the elephant… and soon enough we encountered a dozen or so munching away right by the road. We idled next to a young bull who knelt then rolled in the cool mud while the rest of the herd crossed around us… including several moms and babies.
Elephants aren’t the only slow beasties about… as I write we’re stuck behind a tortoise: animals have right of way here. Now it’s a dozen elephants crossing in front and behind us. Soon we pass a huge hammercock, then there are two distant black rhinos in a drying wash, then waterbuck, impala and giraffe. We stop at a picnic area and immediately the vervet monkeys jump on to our car, trapping Sue inside. Karen slips out and shoos them away, but we won’t be making sandwiches here!
We pass more big game in the afternoon as we make our way to centrally located Sabi camp, where we have two nights. Karen’s arranged for three Rondavels so we settle in and send the boys down to the pool for an afternoon swim. After dinner, we stroll over to catch the end of the outdoor movie, and learn that elephants can communicate much like whales, using very low frequencies over up to 4 kilometers. Behind the amphitheater seating there’s a small museum with some bones, including massive hippo and elephant skulls.