We left camp at 5am as we had to get to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (about two hours away) for my guests to catch an early flight home.
Shortly after we left, I noticed that there were tracks on the road left by a pride of lions which were heading in the same direction that we were driving. During the evening one of the rangers had reported that he had heard a pride of lions feeding not too far from his room on the southern end of the staff village – so I knew that there was a possibility that the lions were still close. With only one route to get of out the reserve, the chances of the lions being on that same road and us seeing them were pretty slim.
All of a sudden as we approached a junction in the road a pride of 15 lions sprung up filling the view of our headlights. We couldn’t believe our luck. We stopped briefly to enjoy a quick moment with them in the pouring rain but time was not on our side as we still had a flight to catch and a long way to go.
With our spirits elevated, we chatted about how fortunate we had been with such a special last minute sighting – what an unexpected treat! Now if that wasn’t enough of a send-off you can only just imagine how we were about to feel just five minutes later…
We saw some movement in the grass on the side of the road but with all the rain and it still being dark we couldn’t quite make out what it was until we got a bit closer. To our amazement it was it was a male leopard! It was the Flat Rock Male out marking his territory. We followed behind him for a short while but unfortunately once again we had to consider our time frame and had to leave him be.
Despite the short amount of time we got to spend with these incredible animals, we still felt fulfilled and were able to fully appreciate that fact that we got to see them even though we weren’t actually on a regular game drive, but in a closed vehicle on our way to the airport.
This just goes to show that the game drive isn’t truly over until you leave the gates of Londolozi.