Thornybush Game Drive #3: Cats and Birds

Location: Thornybush Game Preserve

This afternoon/evening we went on our second evening game drive of the trip. We were joined by a Scottish family who just arrived at the lodge a couple hours earlier. Luckily the rain had stopped, and we were left with partly sunny skies and gentle temperatures.

We set out again on the jeep and left camp. Soon thereafter we encountered a herd of cape buffalo. This was likely the same heard we saw relaxing in the water hole behind the lodge yesterday. We spent quite some time following and observing the herd. Our guide was pretty excited to see a yellow billed oxpecker resting on the back of one of the buffalo. The picture below also shows the more common red billed oxpecker.

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A red billed oxpecker and the rare yellow billed oxpecker.
Herd of buffalo.
Herd of buffalo.

Chewie got word that the leopard was spotted again, this time with her cub, so he decided to divert this evenings drive to seeing the pair. The Scots were very excited.

Along the way we saw a steenbok, which is the smallest of the antelope found in Kruger. The one featured below is fully grown despite appearing to be no more than a baby deer.

Steenbok
Steenbok

We also saw a couple kinds of eagles including a

Bateleur Eagle
Bateleur Eagle
Whalberg's Eagle
Whalberg’s Eagle

Finally we reached the leopard’s den. Twin Spot had gone off leaving her cub. Rachel managed to take these great photos of him *posing* for the camera.

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At sundown we stopped for evening tea in an open field. It was a “breathtaking” sunset.

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Afterwards we did a night game drive en route to the lodge. We managed to see some hippos out of the water beside a water hole. They were about 100 m away, which is close enough given that they are the most deadly animal in Africa.

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But the high point was seeing a black maned lion waking up. He growled a few times and even walked around the truck, coming within a few feet! Chewie wasn’t nervous at all, but that didn’t stop the rest of us from feeling that way. The good news is that there were no instances of ailurophobic induced incontinence. The better news is that we got these pictures!

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Yawn!
Yawn!

Tomorrow we have another full slate of game drives. We managed to see the big five within the first three drives, so everything new we see after this is great bonus.

Total steps: 5,050

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One thought on “Thornybush Game Drive #3: Cats and Birds”

  1. What a trip you are having! The pictures are so taking me back there and making me want to go again. Some day I would like to learn more about how you planned this trip. Enjoy and keep,those photos coming!

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