• David Bough

Don’t Panic.

One of the most popular hides in the park is the legend that is Lake Panic.

This is the story of one day that really no one deserves.

So I was staying with Lorrie and Toby Esplin at Skukuza and we decided to spend the early morning heading towards Kruger gate and then at about 9am head down to lake panic to see what was going on at the hide.

First up..much crashing behind us and out of the bushes, at some speed, three block rhino. To fast for me to get a photo but never the less a stunning start to the day. We noodled around for a while and after our lucky start we headed down to Lake Panic.

How much better could our day get ?. We were just about to find out.

Watching the miryiad birds that reside at the lake Toby stopped in his tracks..leopards sawing in the distance; and not one, two.

We waited and waited hoping they would come down near the hide to drink. The calls got closer and closer and then they appeared. Two beautiful young leopards.

They drank at the waters edge and the one climbed a tree to have a look at the humans and then slipped off back into the bush.

But we were not done yet..oh no.

We sat and chatted about how lucky we had been and it still wasn’t 9am.

One of the reasons we had decided to head to the hide that day was because we’d heard they there was a Python hunting close to the hide. We searched and searched and couldn’t see it nowhere. Toby decided to shoot a Woodland Kingfisher hunting from one of the dead trees that in front of the hide.

As the kingfisher returned to it perch on the tree it struck. As the kingfisher came I to land the python that had been there all the time, struck. Faster than lightening it coiled around the unsuspecting bird.

For over an hour we watched the young python manoeuvre the bird into the right position to swallow it and then wriggled into a comfortable position to digest the now deceased bird.

What a day. Still after 5 years I’ve not had a day in the park that can really challenge that day. Even now I smile when I think back.

How lucky were we.

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