5:15 wakeup and on the road by 5:45. Shortly after departing, passed three white rhinos sleeping by the side of the road. As we came level with them, the foremost sat up on his hind legs like a great, armoured dog, yawned, blinked and tried to wake up and focus on us, but with very little success. Clearly we had awakened him from a deep sleep and he just couldn’t rouse himself. Really fun to see as he was only about 3 or 4 metres from the LR; in a pose that I would not have associated with rhinos. Drove by the airstrip and came upon two jackal teenagers playing in the middle of the runway, chasing each other, rolling around and having a wonderful time. Fun to watch but too far away for a good shot. Got a call on the radio after about an hour’s driving, calling everyone back in; a cyclone was building in the east over Madagascar and was expected to hit our region within the next 12 hours. Mala Mala was evacuating the camp and was madly scrambling to find accommodations out of the expected path of the storm for their guests. Fortunately we were due to depart anyway so no problem for us, but hard lines for those who had just arrived. Most of the other camps were doing the same thing and Kruger had emergency crews on standby and had closed the park gates to new entrants.
Caution is running very high as they had had a disastrous flood six weeks ago that covered Lion Sands camp and had done great damage to many of the other low-lying riverside camps. The massive concrete bridge at Mala Mala that crossed the river had been washed away, hence our using a ford and there was great concern that if the storm was at all serious it would be next to impossible to launch planes or helicopters to take people out, so they were evacuating before the storm arrived.
In the course of working our way back to camp we saw a magnificent male lion walking down the road and got some good shots and as we were driving away from them Yuri got word of a wild dog sighting so we raced to see them before our return. Fabulous! A pair of them very close to, loping tirelessly down the gravel road. Not many of them in the park area so very lucky to see them. Rushed back to camp, packed and Rich took us away at about 10:30.
Arrived in White River at Eth and Malcolm’s. Pleasant afternoon and dinner with Rich and Susie and early bed as we leave early in the morning for the Kalahari and Tswalu.