big cat laundry day!

Level 4. Still Locked-Down in Kruger National Park.

Big Cat Laundry Day!

 

I don’t know about you, but I kind of felt a sense of accomplishment on Friday morning. We did it! We made it through 35 days of hard lock-down! On to level 4! And then I quickly realized that for our family, level 4 of lock-down doesn’t mean a lot will change. The boys are not going to go to school for a long time, Kruger National Park is still closed and our washing machine is still broken. So yesterday I went to camp once more for two ginormous loads of washing. Little did I know it was going to be a Big Cat Laundry Day!

 

It was the most beautiful morning yesterday. The sun came up behind the bridge across the Crocodile River in soft streaks of orange, yellow and pink. While I watched the orange sphere climb above the horizon, I could hear hippo’s fight in the river close by. It sounded really violent and I just hope they are both ok.

 

Our nights here in the south of the park are getting nice and cool. Winter is definitely on its way, and our mornings are crisp and clear with a bit of a bite. It truly is my favourite time of the year! So on this beautiful, crisp Saturday morning, I left for Berg en Dal with two overflowing washing hampers in the boot.

 

Just after the T-junction, there were two young elephants pushing each other around in the middle of the road. The rest of the herd was scattered on either side of the road and feeding contently. Judging from the amount of debris and elephant dung on the tar, the big herd had obviously spent quite some time here.

 

Now a lot of animals like using the tar- and dirt roads in the park. They did even before the lock-down. Walking on a clear surface takes a lot less energy than wading though the thick bush. However, with the presence of all the noisy and fast travelling vehicles, the animals were always a bit nervous using the ‘human-paths’, if I can call them that apposed to the animal paths we find snaking through the bush.

 

But now that there is no traffic, and that there has not been any traffic in more than 5 weeks, it really feels like the human-made roads are becoming animal paths! It really is beautiful to see.

 

Not only did I have to wait for a good 10 minutes for the elephants to finally move off the road, but I also had about a 10-minute giraffe wait not long after that. And while I was waiting for the giraffe light to turn green, so to say, I noticed that there were elephants right at the top of the hill on my right! What an amazing sight! Steven has told me numerous times that elephants like to climb mountains and this was the first time I saw it with my own eyes.

In the area I saw my sleeping beauty of a lion during my trip to the Laundromat last week, I slowed down hoping to get another sighting of this beautiful big cat. I scanned the bush on my left and on my right without any success until… There he was! He was sleeping in the shade of a bush in the middle of an open patch, looking like the side of a Lion Match-box. I could see one female with him. Could they be mating?

 

I switched off my engine and sat with these magnificent big cats for a long time. There was not just one, but two females with him. They were doing what lions do best: just lyin’ around! I would have loved to see them mate, but the sun was shining directly on me and I was getting very hot in the car so after about 45 minutes I left. Maybe they would still be there on my way home.

“Could they be mating?”

I was still thinking about this male and his two females while I continued my journey to Berg en Dal. I wondered who this guy was… The N4 lion (read A Lion on the Highway and lions in Lower Sabie and An Amazing Hour with Lions) has moved a lot further north after his two coalition partners were killed by two other big males in the Malalane Area. But those two boys were mostly seen together, and this was a male on his own… Mmmmm. If only I could be a proverbial fly on the wall inside the lion prides in our area. Or should I rather say a tick on a lion’s ear…

 

Anyway, while I was musing over the Malalane Lion pride politics, the last thing I expected was to see more lions!! But, as I came round a bend not far from Berg en Dal, there they were in the shade on the right-hand side of the road: One big male and three beautiful adult females. I quickly grabbed my phone to video the big cats. And I had barely switched on my phone when the male and female started mating! I will post the video I took a little bit later on our Facebook Page.

What a special treat! The male and female growled and snarled and fell asleep again not long after the deed was done. They looked very relaxed and at ease so I slowly, slowly pulled up right next to them and switched off my engine. All four lions looked up at me as I came to a halt, and three of them quickly relaxed again. But one female kept staring intently at me. So much so in fact that it made me quite nervous… and that made for a bit for shaky camera work. Lol. Sorry about that. I have not had a staring contest with a lion before…

 

Luckily the lioness did not seem agitated by my presence. She was not flicking her tail or showing any signs of aggression. Maybe she had just not seen any cars in a long time… But this beautiful feline in the prime of her life won the staring contest hands down!! I did not know where to look anymore and my heart was racing as I took some pictures…

big Cat Laundry Day
Lioness Staring Contest got my heart racing…

I, unfortunately, had forgotten my camera with my big lens at home. Murphy’s law dictates that on days that you do not have your good camera with you, you have the most amazing sightings. Which was certainly true for my big cat laundry day yesterday. So I took lots of cell phone pictures and mental pictures too. To remember this day, where I had two lion sightings all to myself and a staring contest with a lioness…

 

 

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “Level 4. Still Locked-Down in Kruger National Park.

  1. Oh my goodness, Linda. I am so jealous but also glad that you, Steven, Alex and Jack as safe and well in Kruger. With the roads being virtually empty, the animals have total freedom of the park and this is something we should all remember. This is an animal sanctuary and we as humans need to get our priorities right in that when we visit these parks throughout South Africa, that we are the visitors and we are privileged to be able to view these majestic animals and therefore, we need to respect the animals as we would our fellow human beings.
    Let us all adhere to all regulations and especially speeding and certain protocols all the time.
    Best Regards, Ray

  2. It amazes me that elephants clamb mountains I thought there were not comfortable stepping on stones most of the Kruger clamps are surrounded by stones to protect them from elephants.

  3. Woo hoo! Laundry days get better and better! Watch out; you may find yourself with a pair of lions socks and some zebra p.js inexplicably mixed in with your wash one of these days! The video was great – thanks for sharing. Keep well.

  4. Thank you for sharing. What an experience. With all the animals at ease, I’m sure there’ll be babies galore after lockdown. Take care and stay safe🙏❤🌈

  5. I would want it to be wash day every day with those wonderful sightings that you are having. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Loving your stories of lockdown in Kruger! Ik las dat je uit NL komt-hier een Nederlandse die graag ZA en in het bijzonder Kruger bezoekt!!
      Keep the tales coming!
      Ps I have spotted elephants climbing over rocky hills before, such a strange sight!

  6. So nice to read your posts ! A couple of hours ago, my husband and i were talking about RSA and especially NP . as it’s birthday next saturday, i asked him what gift would u like for your brand new spring ? ( in french of course … lol ). The answer fell as soon as I finished my question : A stay in KNP !!!! Well well well… Ask it to Mr Covid, darling !…………. We are missing KNP and we are planning to come back next march but plans are very ” fragile ” and unobvious with the Covid.( + flights ??? ) . Who knows about the future ? So we look at your lovely photos and I read your posts ( then I translate to Dear Husband …. well I should ask for wages !!! lol …. unpaid ! I guess … LOL ) : it’s easier to feel so far away from the park. Yes it is so !!!
    Amazing lions ! Once we saw a lion mating a lioness on the way to Shingwedzy and we were the first tourists to arrive and see ! opening eyes widely and shooting ! More than 50 pics for a quarter of hour watching ! LOL .
    Thank you and big hugs from Reunion island. Have a nice week : laundry is funnier the way you do it … for this time !

  7. Hi Linda. All your experiences bring back so many memories. We used to stay at Lisbon Estates near Sabie Park as a child. . My sister was at school in Skukuza and we used to go to the Staff village to buy groceries and also went to church in Skukuza. We now as a family live in Hermanus .Kruger Park is still one of our favourite places to visit. We took the kids there on holiday ladt year and the smell of the bush just reminded me how soecial those days were. I just love reading all your trips doing your washing. My one daughter Chantelle Usher has joined you on facebook. Unfortunately I am not on facebook but the girls keep me updated on your trips. Just so nice of you to go through all this effort to let us all enjoy your washing days. Amazing how the animals just walking around without all the tourists interfering with their environment. We are planning to go to Kruger hooefully again once the Covid has calmed down. The african bush will always be part of our lives. Hooe we can keep in contact and who knows maybe meet you one day in Kruger.

  8. One can only appreciate the beauty of God’s creation when in the Park.We were hoping to visit over easter or June/ July as still have one child at school.
    As you are aware the park gives one a sense of freedom .Currently we feel locked up.
    Its wonderful to see the animals have this freedom and more so with no people disturbing them .It must be such an awesome time for you and family.

  9. Hi Linda
    You must be the luckiest person to be lockdown in the park. Now you discover what real nature is. Thanks for updates and pictures. Please send more

  10. Thank you for posting your trips, I am really enjoying them and what a pleasure you have to be at one with nature like this.

  11. Your blog is a breath of fresh air…you bring the Kruger Park right into our home…We enjoy it so much and envy your amazing sightings.

  12. What a wonderful experience Linda. And all to yourself. How I wish I live where you do. Just a quick question. Do the big cats or any wild cat for that matter, also make holes to do their business and then cover it up afterwards. I watched my cat this morning and wondered if it is only domesticated cats or all felines. Take care and keep your blog coming please. Lesley

  13. Love your stories. They bring Kruger to my home!

    I’ve subscribed to your email list but as yet have not received any.

    Please guide me to the previous blogs so that I can catch upon those I missed.

    Looking forward to your next blog.

    1. Hi Annie, when you subscribe, you get an email with a link to confirm your subscription. Once you do that, you’ll receive all new posts via email.
      Let je know if you don’t come right!

      1. Thanks Linda. I’ve just tried again to subscribe to your blog. As on previous occasions nothing arrived in my inbox, so I’m unable to use the link.

        Thanks in advance for your help.

      2. Linda I’m still having a problem subscribing to you blogs. I’ve tried a couple of times again but don’t receive any emails with a link.

        1. Hi Anne,
          Sorry to hear you are struggling to sign up.
          Have you checked your SPAM folder? Maybe the email with the comfirmation link ended up in there?
          Look for en email from WordPress.
          Let me know if you don’t come right! x

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