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We had our first communal dinner set on the deck at Sabi Sabi, under the stars and lanterns. During the main course we were treated to a couple of hyenas visiting the water hole beyond the deck. Silly me – I forgot my camera. Here’s a lesson – test your camera at night before leaving on safari. You want to make sure you can still get good shots after the sun goes down on your evening drives. Also, be sure to have your camera at dinner!

Morning tea was delivered to the room the next morning. Our drive started with two leopards (making up for the lack of them the day before). We stopped by a dam where a large pod of hippos were relaxing and making interesting noises! A herd of elephants were wallowing in a mud hole. I enjoyed watching two baby elephants throwing mud at each with their trunks and chasing each other around. Not much different from human siblings.

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After brunch, Dad and I set off again in our rental car for the Savannah Private Reserve on the southern end of the Sabi Sand. We arrived just in time for lunch where we were enthusiastically welcomed by the other passengers of our safari vehicle.

We got to see a fascinating leopard encounter. A male was relaxing in an open meadow. Further off a young female wandered through the bush. The male spotted her as she came out into the meadow and immediately went on high alert, as the female was in his territory. He started stalking toward her, moving from tree to tree whenever she was looking the other way. She finally spotted him when he had closed about half the distance. Then it was a stare down straight out of the Wild West. Would he charge her? Or would she flee? She would take two steps and he would mirror her. Finally, she bolted! He was off like a shot right after her. It was incredible.

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On the last full day on safari, we saw a herd of elephant marching down the road in a line in almost perfect order according to height. We tracked a leopard (the female from yesterday) through some very thick bush, and saw our only kill. She pounced on and ate a mouse. Not as dramatic as a wildebeest, but still amazing to watch. We almost saw a cheetah take down an impala, but the impala spotted him too soon, so he just trotted off into the bush. Just before our morning break, we managed to track down a pack of wild dog, which was the last animal I still had on my personal list. A perfect way to end an amazing trip.