Further down the road another rogue male elephant went storming past me a hundred feet from the road, then it quietened somewhat. I did see more antelope, including the massive eland, but generally, apart from a few squirrels it all went quiet. I was thinking the time of day was wrong, but I was soon proved different as in the space of a few miles I saw giraffe, hippo, a crocodile in a swampy river with some terrapins, herons and circling vultures. The chance occurrences of Safari still amazed me.
I zigzagged my way around the roads near Satara for an hour or more, soaking up the atmosphere all the way. As the heat rose and the glare increased, I was treated to fewer large game. They were all beginning to find some shelter. One hyena, a large brown hyena, was sheltering under a tree, but the shade came across the road and he had settled himself right in my way. I stopped the engine and watched this huge beast. He was tired, his great shoulders heaving up and down as he panted in the heat. It was almost like he had just finished scavenging a big meal and was trying to find somewhere to recover. He acknowledged my presence a couple of times, and wondered why I was just sitting there looking at him. I was reluctant to invade his privacy by passing him but I really did not want to retrace the fifteen miles of road I had come along. So eventually I started the engine and inched my way around him. As I passed within two feet of his paws, he looked straight at me, but either his exhaustion or fat belly overcame the fear of the Bucky and he continued to lie there.
The afternoon was a quiet one, a waterbuck here, some more impala here. It was getting closer to sunset when more animals came back out. I moved down a small cul de sac to a waterhole to see if anything was sheltering there. In amongst some dark green foliage, I spied a tiny steenbock, in springing mode, legs coiled up ready to jump at any wrong move I made. Its ears twitched the flies away as it stared at me. It eventually thought I was too much of a risk, but rather than flee, it stealthily treaded behind a bush. I drove once around the small car park and started to head out when I was aware of movement high in the trees. I looked up and saw the head of a huge giraffe peering down at the vehicle. Only a couple of feet of neck was visible before it disappeared below some branches. I looked up at him, he looked down at me, for some moments. The noise of another approaching vehicle made him start and withdraw a little. A large RV came into the car park at high speed and sped around in a tight circle kicking up all sorts of dust. A large fat South African couple looked over at me and said “Not seeing much round here, man. We must have driven twenty miles without a single animal. You seeing much in here?” I glanced up at the giraffe who was now examining this new vehicle from a lofty distance. I looked back at the couple.
“No, not much around here”.
“Oh well good luck” and they skidded off into the bush.
I looked up once more at the giraffe; did he wink at me, perhaps it was only my imagination, and I too drove off, but at a more steady pace.