Day 8 – Sunday 4 June: Klaserie to Johannesburg
We’re still on a lion hunt, even though it’s our last morning in the Klaserie! So we headed out in a last ditch attempt to find those elusive big cats that had kept Shaun guessing. Upon scrutinising the animal tracks, Shaun and Wiseman thought the watering hole was worth a visit. Alas, to no avail. We soaked up our last safari in the Klaserie all the same.
Then we headed back to camp for a last breakfast with Lindsay before leaving. What a magical place the Klaserie has been, completely captivating.
We said our goodbyes to Lindsay then headed in the direction of Klaserie HQ to change over from our safari vehicle to the minivan. Then it was off towards the Klaserie main gate to exit the reserve. We were trucking along the main (and only sealed) road in the Klaserie, only a few kilometres from the main gate, when Di (who had been asleep), awoke with a start and called out “lion”!!! Shaun stopped, then backed up to find … unbelievably … a leopard on a track just off the road!! Being nocturnal creatures, leopards are notoriously hard to spot during the day as they are normally resting, draped on tree limbs or lying in thick undergrowth.
This was nothing short of sensational! Di, our “Queen” leopard spotter!! Our leopard allowed us to get reasonably close in the vehicle, all the while checking us out inquisitively. Thankfully, he allowed Norman to get some fantastic photos!
And that was how we enjoyed our thrilling last 10 minutes in the Klaserie. What a fitting end to our time there! AND … we checked off the ‘Big Five’! Done!
Onwards towards Johannesburg, passing firstly through the town of Hoedspruit. Then we made our way through the utterly spectacular Blyde River Canyon in the Drakensberg Escarpment. Talk about jaw dropping scenery! We actually stopped there at craft stalls local women had set up on the roadside. Talk about stalls with a view! Di and I had a look through them, and I bought a couple of tablecloths. Then we set off again. The next town we passed through was Lydenburg. Then it was time to stop for a late lunch at lovely little Dullstroom, where we had enjoyed pancakes on our way to Kruger some six days ago. This time we had lunch at Pickles and Things. Then we hit the road again for J’Burg. On the approach to J’Burg, there was a large haze cloud which I asked about. Shaun explained it was a result of the locals burning coal for heating!
Finally we made it to our warm and inviting B&B, Sleep Eezy. We deposited our bags, showered, rugged up, then walked the 15 minutes to local Italian restaurant, Pizza Del Forno. The food was hearty and plentiful, and we found a nice Shiraz, Thierry & Guy’s ‘Fat Bastard’. Not a bad drop! And Heather celebrated our incredible leopard sighting with leopard necklaces for us three ladies! YAY!!
Off to bed, ready for our flight to Victoria Falls tomorrow …