This morning, as always lately, we wake up early; we are at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, at the Letaba Rest Camp, we have breakfast while the sun is rising.

Soon after we take our Dr. Livingstone, our car, and we leave; we are among the first to leave the camp gate.

We take the H 1-5, a section of the main road that runs through the entire Kruger National Park from South to North; in this area there is still part of the mopane forest, but today we move further South, and probably leave behind the mopane and the warm autumn colors of its leaves.

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Although we are on a main road, we are alone, probably the other travelers are still sleeping or are in another area of ​​the park; better like that, in this way we have all this wonder just for us.

We stop at a puddle, here there is water, and where there is water there is life we ​​know; in fact here there are several waterfowls, such as the Goliath Heron, the gray herons, the Egyptian geese, and the waterbucks, that, as their name suggests, live near the sources of water.

We also sight some vultures, they are perched on some branches and look around, they are probably looking for some animal carcasses of which they can feed themselves; there are both the white-backed vultures, and the laped faced vultures my favorites, they are gigantic and beautiful even if a little ghostly sometimes.

We see several herds of elephants, some specimens have particularly long and thick tusks; how nice it is to see that big tuskers still exist, even though they are constantly in the sights of the poachers.

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During our safari along the H 1-5 we also meet some buffaloes and a herd of zebras that went to a pool of water to drink, a couple of jackals that stalk, looking for food, and a Southern ground hornbill walking on the ground, sometimes it moves the ground with the big beak to try to catch some insect.

We take the S 100, this road is indicated as one of the best for sightings in this area, it is also very beautiful from the landscape point of view, on one side there is an open prairie, while on the other you can see the big trees of the fluvial forest located along a water stream.

We drive for some miles and, suddenly, we see in the distance some cars stopped, this is an unequivocal sign that there is some important sighting; we approach trying to understand what is there, but we have a suspect and in fact here they are!
There are some lions, two females and some older puppies; they are posted near a pool of water, they seem relaxed but you can see that they are pointing some wildebeests in the distance.

At some point some zebras arrive, probably they are directed to the pool to drink but, when they are about to approach, they notice the presence of the lions; they stop and wait, trying to figure out if the cats are willing to move ...

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They wait and wait, but the lions do not move, on the contrary, it is clear that they are waiting for them to try to catch them; after some time when zebras and lions have remained motionless to look at each other, the zebras are forced to retrace their steps and go looking for another source of water who knows where, always better than risking becoming the dinner of the lions!

Even some giraffes observe the lions in the distance, they are reluctant to look for water elsewhere, at this time of the year the pools are almost all dry, on the other end they do not want to risk being caught by lions while they drink, one of the moments when they are more vulnerable, and in the end they too go away.

We stay there a bit to observe the lions and other animals and then decide to continue, also because we are sure that we will find the lions right here until sunset, we can eventually come back later.

We continue along the S 100 and we see some elephants that have fallen into the river bed, there is not much water, just a few puddles, but it is enough to get wet with mud, while for drinking they dig holes with their paws and then reach underground water with the proboscis, surely it is cleaner than the one that stagnates in the pools.

We take the S 41 and reach the picnic area, it is located in a higher position than the road and the view is not bad at all; we prepared our lunch last night, but, if we wanted, we could rent the gas plate to cook something right now.

We have lunch enjoying the landscape and then we move again by our Dr. Livingstone; we take the S 37 and we go to the observation cabin; there is a puddle of water and we spot some water birds such as herons, some storks, lapwings, and some waterbucks and also some crocodiles basking in the sun.

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We stay a bit here to wait, the safari also means knowing how to wait with patience, but this time our patience has not been rewarded, we do not see anything else, not so bad, we still enjoyed this scene.

We go back and take the S 41, it is our intention to go all the way North, and then reach our camp tonight, the Satara Rest Camp.

The road crosses an open savannah area but, on the first part of the road, we only spot a few birds, like the hornbills or the red-back shrikes; continuing along our path we see a small group of giraffes, they seem to walk in the direction of a pool that is just ahead.

When we get to the detour, we turn right and reach an observation point that is near a dam, here there is a lot of water and so there are several animals: zebras, waterbucks, giraffes, elephants that are drinking or lying in the water; a little green paradise after so much dry land.

We go back on the S 41 and continue North, we are going to see the various pools that are located along the road, some will inevitably be dry, but maybe others reserve us pleasant surprises.

Shortly after, in fact, we turn and take a track that leads to a puddle and we see two cars standing still in the distance; we approach slowly so as not to scare any animal they are watching.

Next to the pool, a little hidden among the bushes, there are some lions and, not far from them, there is the carcass of a giraffe, most likely they must have surprised it while it drank and killed it; not far from the pool and the lions, lying in the high grass, there is also a spotted hyena, it seems alone, but, with this so high vegetation, it is difficult to see if, a little further, there are others.

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Maybe the hyena, or hyenas, are waiting for the right moment to be able to steal the prey to the lions, we stay here a bit to see if anything happens but neither the lions nor the hyena move; so we decide to continue along the S 41 to see if we see other animals, at the limit then, if we have time, we can always come back.

Along the way we find a herd of elephants that surely come from the dam where we were before, they are in fact wet, some up to the legs, some up to the shoulders, some completely; it will be our impression but the elephants, when they interact with the water, seem as happy as children.

We cross the entire S 41, sighting some antelopes, the elephants and the giraffes and, when we arrive at the intersection with the S 90, since it is still early, we decide to go back to the pool of the lions to see if anything has changed but, when we arrived, we found the same scene that we left, with the only difference that the lions have lain down and are sleeping.

Probably for the next few hours they will remain here, so we wait a little but then we leave again, we cross the S 41 Northwards and then we take the S 90.

Here we still find several elephants, a small group fell into a ditch between the papyri; here there is a bit of water, there is also fresh and green grass, so they stand there blissful and serene to eat, they are too beautiful.

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Others, however, are close to another puddle but, instead of drinking from the stagnant water on the ground, they stretch out, extending the proboscis and sometimes rising on their hind legs, to take water directly from the large concrete reservoir that feeds the pool itself; surely the water here is cleaner and they, as intelligent as they are, certainly know it.

We reach the S 89, a short stretch of road that will lead us to our camp for  tonight, the Satara Rest Camp.

At a certain point we pass on a low bridge that crosses the river, the sun is descending towards the horizon, its warm light, reflected in the little water present in the river and on the vegetation, is spectacular; unfortunately the bridge is narrow and is an alternate one-way system, therefore we cannot stop, so we decide to drive on it slowly and, once arrived on the other side, we come back.

In all we drive on it three times and take pictures, the sunset tonight is really spectacular, while we are kidnapped by this wonder of nature we go to our camp to relax a bit and to taste a glass of Casa Montini chardonnay to toast to the day just concluded that gave us super sightings.

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