Lions, Rhino and Wildebeest giving birth, oh my!
Berg-en-Dal Camp – Guest House #35
I checked into camp the night before after seeing three of the big five on the drive from Malelane gate to Berg-en-Dal camp, which is not very far at all. I already knew it was going to be another amazing journey to Kruger National park; one of my favorite places on Earth.
Although my accommodations were wonderful, I slept little that first night due to the excitement of the days ahead; that and the fact I wanted to be out of the gates when they opened the next morning at four-thirty to see what I could see. At twenty passed four, I was in my car waiting for the guard to open the gate with a thermos of coffee in hand and a smile on my face.
Just down from the gate, lying on the road were two female lions, one a sub adult and two nursing cubs with the greenest eyes I have ever seen. I pulled my car close, turned off the engine and watched them silently in the dawn of that already brilliant day. Eventually, they rose from the warm asphalt and started walking, leaving one cub slightly behind; he was intrigued by my vehicle. As the cub got a bit closer, he opened his mouth. I was expecting a little peep from the tiny lion but what I heard was no peep, instead it was quite a large meow for such a small fellow.
I had now seen four of the big five in less than twenty-four hours. Should I see leopard, my big five check list was already complete. I turned north of the H-3 and drove slowly as the sun began to rise. The morning was a bit cool with a slight breeze blowing in through my open car windows. Only a short distance down the H-3 I saw a very large hyena ahead running straight for me then past in a great hurry. He must have been late for something.
I drove only another mile or so when I came upon white rhino; my second sighting of white rhino in less than twenty-four hours. There were nine that I could see. But that wasn’t even the most amazing part!
As I watched the rhino, something caught my attention to my left in the distant field. As I scanned to see what I heard, I saw a wildebeest and the moment I looked at her I saw her give birth. My mouth fell open in disbelief. I regained my lost composure and aimed the camera on her within a minute as the baby began its attempt to stand on wobbly virgin legs; the after birth still coming out of her mom.
It was not even five o'clock in the morning, yet I already knew the day could not possibly get any better, so I turned around and went back to camp with an even bigger smile on my face than the one I left camp with.