Woke up early to the first truly sunny skies we've seen since arriving in Sodwana Bay. Headed up to the view point in the campground. Got an outstanding view of the dam, the Blyde River and canyon, and the Three Rondawels rock formation. Decided to backtrack a bit and went to the official Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve's Three Rondawels viewpoint, but it really wasn't any better than the campground's.
We decided to backtrack even further and headed twenty kilometers south to Bourke's Luck Potholes, also part of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. It's the start of the Blyde River canyon and is pretty spectacular. There's a falls that drops the river into a pool. The canyon leading from the pool looks like a series of potholes that are connected under water - so the water in these "separate" holes flows from one to the next. It's beautiful and fascinating, but the walkways, railings, bridges, and danger signs really detract from the setting. Not much in Africa is overdeveloped, but this is.
Finally Kruger National Park! Spent the afternoon driving through the park. The game viewing didn't seem fantastic, but that was partly because of the weather - moving steadily towards no sun at all. There were quite a few animals, including a high percentage of the ones you want to see, but no huge gatherings at the waterholes like in Etosha. Actually all the water holes we went to were completely deserted - no animals at all. Obviously all the rain recently has not been good for the game viewing.
Saw the usual, not exciting, but picturesque animals: giraffe, wildebeest, Zebra, warthog, and Impala before things started to get exciting. We turned off the main (tarred) road on to a sand track looking for leopards. We didn't see any leopards, but almost immediately came upon a group of three lioness. Considering that up until today I've only seen a total of three lions - this was impressive. After a few minutes they dissolved back in to the landscape and we continued on. Shortly thereafter we found a group of at least five white rhinos - unfortunately they were several hundred yards off, but still more rhinos than we've ever seen together. After spotting a large spotted eagle owl we got back to the main road.
We debate another quick side road detour (we need to get into camp by six or face a huge fine), but the last sand track was so successful that we decide to do it. It's only a seven kilometer side track, but we immediately come upon a black-backed jackal pup that it fairly fearless of us - at least until the cameras come out (how do they know?) And about half way through we come by a field with another lioness in it! After carefully watching we find that it's not just a lioness, but two lioness and three cubs! The images are spectacular, unfortunately it's after sunset now and to dark for photos.
Race for the camp, get there with ten minutes to spare - no worries. Do some quick shopping (this place is incredibly developed - full shop, two car rental places, a post office, a bank, even an ATM!) After a small dinner (I've been snaking all day - the 1/2 kilo of biltong I bought yesterday is almost gone), and sitting around the fire for the Amarula it's bed time.