When we left the tent this morning, there was a reedbuck five feet away, just outside our front door. We're not sure who was more startled by whom. The incident was a better wakeup than any caffeine. At breakfast, we saw a hippo coming back to the water, just across the river from our camp. It was surprising that we were leaving "late" again, so we asked Kevin about it. As we (sadly) suspected, the usual clientele at Singita doesn't want to get up early, and wants to have breakfast before heading out. When we were in Botswana in 2007, we were up before sunrise, and left just as the sun was coming up. The reason is simple - the animals are doing more at dawn and dusk, and the lighting is much better. So it was frustrating to be missing out on the "golden hour" because other tourists were more interested in sleeping in and eating; we can do that at home. So we asked Kevin if we could get an earlier start the next day, and he said he'd work on it.

On the drive, we saw a group of baboons, presumably ones we saw just before getting back to camp the night before. We also saw a group of elephants, including two babies and one adult with a screwed up tusk. The tusk was twisted around and actually pointed back towards her throat. We weren't sure how she didn't accidentally impale herself. As with the afternoon before, we went looking for lions and leopards. And as with the afternoon before, it was an abject failure. We found a bunch of evidence of recent kills, but no predators. We kept driving further and further afield (to the northwest), and at one point we drove down a gulley where everyone on right side of truck had to lean to avoid tree branch. We were seemingly driving around aimlessly, not finding much of anything, let alone lions or leopards. On the plus side, we did happen to see more elephants and giraffes. We also saw a tortoise, which was supposed to bring good luck.

The tortoise did bring some good luck, because our sightings actually did get better, but that was probably more of a reflection of what we had (not) seen so far. We saw a "stream crossing" with wildebeests - if they had simply walked a couple hundred feet, wouldn't have needed to cross anything. Then, out in the middle of BFE, we saw a mama cheetah and her cub on our right and a hyena on our left. Medison asked which we wanted to see, and before we could say anything, the other guests said "cheetah." We weren't sure why it had to be a choice. None of the cheetahs we had seen were going anywhere, so we could have seen what the hyena was up to and then head towards the cheetahs, but oh well. We'll speak up more the next time. The mom and cub were sitting in what little shade there was, trying to stay out of the heat. There was no green grass around, only yellow, and very few trees. There were no wildebeest, just some topis, ostrich, and shy warthogs.

On the long ride back we slowly but surely saw the grass change from golden to green, and saw some more evidence of leopards. There was a leopard kill up in a tree, but no corresponding leopard. We got back to camp around 12:30, slightly disappointed, but only as disappointed as one can be out in the middle of the Serengeti on holiday. We had a nice lazy lunch, and then a nice lazy afternoon, with crazy zebra barking constantly at one another. Some were just on the other side of the river, some on our side of the river, just in front of our tent. On our side was a young zebra, which was interesting because its stripes were more of a brown than a black. The young ones we saw in Botswana had black stripes.

The afternoon drive was kind of rough. We headed south and west, back in the direction towards the airport. This was the opposite direction we had gone on the last three drives. So we were happy to be seeing something different, but there still weren't any lions or leopards. We did, however, see a young wildebeest who had been caught in a snare. Medison said he would radio the National Park when we got back to camp, and they would come release the wildebeest. We just hoped it would last that long. Medison told us that locals set up the snares for bushmeat. They just walk into the park to set the snares, and then walk back the next day. We hoped they'd catch the perpetrator in the act.

We came upon another river crossing, and this one wasn't like the three we had seen the day before. First, the wildebeest were having a difficult time making it onto the opposing shore. They were all trying to go up a steep embankment, where if they just swam 20 feet (6 meters) to their left, the exit onto the shore was almost flat. But they were all pushing so hard they didn't seem to notice. Medison just kept commenting how stupid they are, and no doubt they aren't smart, but that didn't seem appropriate given the dire nature of their situation. Since he sees this every day, perhaps that was just a coping mechanism for dealing with the situation, in which case we understand. Second, there were two juveniles stuck in the middle of the river. They looked as though they were stuck, like their feet had gotten caught between two rocks or something similar. They both looked like they could drown at any moment. All the while, there was a giant crocodile sitting on some rocks in the middle of the river, thankfully disinterested by the whole situation. Finally, slowly but surely, the big group of wildebeest went left and got onto the bank, and the two juveniles got free. At that point, Justin tapped Medison on the shoulder and told him to start the engine and leave. We wanted to leave with a happy ending, and be blissfully ignorant of what might happen after that.

At this point, it was late afternoon and we were all a bit overwhelmed by what we had seen the last hour, so we went for sundowners. We lounged around and chatted for a bit, up on some rocks, where there were far fewer flies. The sunset was nice, as was the conservation. One of the couples were from London, where the guy was a hedge fund trader, and the other couple was from Beverly Hills, where they ran a large salon there. We mostly just talked about travel once we found out what each other did. We came back, got cleaned up and went to dinner. Kevin told us we would just head straight to the airport the next day, but we convinced him to let us have a drive in the morning, leaving at an early time. Apparently the other truck was full of people who didn't mind missing breakfast, so Kevin said we could ride with them for a bit before going to the airstrip. After dinner, we got packed for our early wake-up, and then went to sleep.