Just a minute later, there was a large herd of elephants on the other side of the Sabie River.
As we crossed the Sabie River, we were reminded how lucky we were here now because two weeks ago, the drought had been so severe there was no water at all.
In the Sabie's shallow waters, we spotted ten hippos and lots of birds. This was our first time being north of the Sabie River which runs west to east across the south central part of the park before continuing east into neighboring Mozambique.
Some heavily pregnant zebras, we thought:
The vegetation north of the Sabie was noticeably far less dense, almost bordering on sparse.
When we came across a group of cars up ahead, Steven called it perfectly when he said there must be a lion or leopard nearby!
We had been so lucky as we had already seen all the animals and more we had hoped to see, so the view from Nkumbe Lookout was simply an added bonus in our minds. The thatched and shaded area was a perfect place to just relax for awhile on the cement benches.
It was so peaceful overlooking the veld, a flat area covered in grass or low scrub common to southern Africa, as it was incredibly quiet.
We were only able to pick out these two impalas escaping from the heat under this lone tree in the open, uncultivated grassland.
Oops, we'd been spotted!
Close by was this waterbuck with this unmistakable white ring on its rump.
Still further on were this group of six ostriches. They were definitely the highlight of our day so far. The ostrich is a member of a group of birds known as ratites, which means they are flightless birds without a keel to their breastbone.
Ostriches are the largest of the 8,600 bird species existing today. Standing tall on long, bare legs, the ostrich has a long, curving, predominantly white neck. These huge birds, which sometimes reach a height of 8.5 feet and a weight of 300 pounds, cannot fly, but are very fast runners.
Ostriches are mainly vegetarian, eating grass, succulents, berries and seeds, though they will also eat insects. They swallow large numbers of pebbles which help grind the harder food in the gizzard and aid digestion.
Once the one elephant had safely reached the other side, two others, perhaps the mother with her baby, began the short trip across the dam to join, what he thought, was probably the father.
Watching their progress had been so much fun.
We had planned to keep traveling north on the dirt road so we could see more of the central area of the park, but the road was in terrible shape. Instead, we turned around and headed west on another gravel road that was in far better condition.
Even though we'd been driving virtually all day every day for three straight days, we still hadn't gotten any further north than about the lower third of Kruger as the park was so large. Before coming to Kruger, we had thought that we'd definitely be able to see the middle and northern areas of the park. That proved to be totally unrealistic as in the southern area of the park, there were so many dirt roads to wander down and lookouts to stop at, both of which obviously had plenty of animals. We also wanted to relish what we were seeing and not rush onto another place with no guarantee of there being something even more exciting there. Perhaps, we'll be back in South Africa another time. If so, then it would be fun to discover the other sections of Kruger that we didn't see this time.
Tshokwane Trading Post was an ideal spot to escape from the car and view what there was in the shop and lookout area.
Also saw a .... bird of some type!
Before we reached Skukuza Rest Camp, we were lucky enough to detect two female lions in the undergrowth.
After checking into our cozy bungalow at the camp at 5, we walked over to the combination gift shop/mini grocery. I couldn't help but think this was my type of yogurt; after all, it did say chocolate chip!
Posted on January 19th, 2016 from Littleton, Colorado.