Those two rifles? .416 Rigby. Big. Loud. Hard hitting.
Our guides on the bushwalk carried them as a backup. Leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, big scary things… when you’re out in the bush you might stumble into one. The guides are well trained and, honestly, they do their best to avoid anything like lion or leopard when they’re with you. But, the bush and wildlife are unpredictable; they are armed for the worst case scenario.
Natasha and I went on one for our honeymoon and had a wonderful experience; so we booked one on this trip too, out of the Satara camp. On a bushwalk, you meet your guides at 05:15 and leave the camp around 05:30 for a 4hr trip. It’s a short drive out, an educational walk out in the bush (he guides use the good hunting technique of keeping the wind in the face as to avoid spooking game), and the drive back into camp. Because the drive out is in the dark, the guides use spotlights to illuminate the bush out to the sides of the truck on the drive out. This is an amazing time to see wildlife.
On this one, we saw a pride of lion on a buffalo kill, including the male lying on the road, just a few minutes past the gate. It was a huge pride, with some being around the carcass while others were lounging by a nearby waterhole. There were a few other players on the scene, including jackal and vultures, waiting for their turn to eat. It was a great sighting.
The real beauty of the bushwalk is getting close to or seeing animal tracks, habitat, and even animals that you wont by driving through the park. Our guides included a dam in our walk. As we approached it, we could see an African Fish Eagle in a tree overlooking the waterhole. It hadn’t rained since April in the Kruger, and the dam was dry except for the thick black mud in the middle.
As we approached it, the mud began to wiggle and splash. It was full of barbel catfish. They bury themselves in the mud and go dormant until the rains come. It’s a crazy phenomenon. There are even stories of locals making bricks with the mud only to have live fish come out of the walls when it rains.
If you look closely at these pics, you can see fins, mouths, whiskers.