After a full day in Kruger we wanted to relax a bit and chose to do 2 shorter game drives at our “home” reserve of Grietjie (only accessible for people living at the private reserve, like typically the case). The morning game drive was at 6-9am, and the evening one at 4-7pm, and they both started right from our lodge.
The morning game drive started with our guide tracking the 6-7 lions he had seen in the morning when coming to pick us up. Unfortunately, we did not find the lions, but did see many other animals during our game drive.
We also stopped by the Olifants river for some coffee/tea and banana loaf (oh so good!!!).
The most dramatic and memorable animal encounter in the morning happened when we were already heading towards our lodge and there was a big herd of elephants on the road. Normally elephants don’t mind cars and you can just drive past them without any hassle, but this time it was different. Luckily, our guide had already in the morning seen the elephants and knew they were behaving aggressively, so he stopped the car well before the elephants. This, however, was not enough. After the biggest elephant noticed us, he started walking straight towards us on the road, while another big one started going around us in the bushes apparently trying to block us from two directions. Our guide, who clearly took the situation very seriously, backed the car a bit to see if that would help, but the elephants kept on coming towards us, meaning we had to turn the car quickly and drive away. Needles to say, some in our group felt slightly unsettled after this…
Based on what we learned afterwards, it seems that the elephant bulls were in musth/heat and there were also recently born babies in the group, making both the bulls and the large females aggressive.
After the morning game drive and having enjoyed an amazing & filling breakfast offered by the lodge, we spent the day relaxing by the pool.
Suddenly while swimming, I noticed 5 giraffes in the bush just outside our lodge. It was quite clear from the start that they were aiming for the water hole next to the lodge, but they definitely took their time to approach and finally to drink. They ended up spending maybe an hour approaching, and half an hour more by the water hole before drinking, one by one.
The evening game drive included less sightings but was still very nice, and included a stop at another spot along the Olifants river for some sparkling and snacks.