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Published: February 9th 2016
He was disappearing into the grass as I clicked!
Our morning began at 4:45 wake-up call and 5:30 departure for Kruger National Park
for a full-day safari. (Duane worked magic to get us two vehicles – window seats for all - as a couple of experienced safari tour members requested.) We arrived back at the Lodge
at 5:00 p.m. Eleven and a half hours that unrolled like magic!
For hours we rumbled along in a safari vehicle gazing at the golden, green and rust grasses rustling in the wind, while peering through the scattered bushes and trees, trying to see wild animals at home. I would be in a blissful daze, when the call of “Elephants!” or “Kudu!” or “Giraffes!” or “Impala!” or “Wildebeest!” would jolt me into camera action. Sometimes, such as with our glimpse of a rhino, there was only the chance for an automatic shot or two before the animal jogged into the grass or bush, completely disappearing from sight. Our last major sighting was of the lion, king of the “Big Five”. One was standing as I shot, collapsing into the grass on my next click, completely hidden from view as the noise of the shutter reached my ear. Unbelievable to realize that a couple of feet of
A Buffalo alone is a deposed male.
grass could hide such a large beast!
A commonly seen member of the Big Five was the Cape Buffalo
. We had fun staring down the beast that chose to stand four-square and look most concentratedly at us. Giraffes
also stared inexhaustibly at us, but they seemed to be negligently seeking some interest while they chewed. Twice we saw hippos
in the water, only their twirling ears distinguishing them from too-smooth rocks. Elephants
in ever-larger family groups were unconcerned about us as long a they had room to walk towards their destination; Bennett, our guide maneuvered the vehicle to accommodate both them and us. In one family group was a calf so little that Bennett estimated it to be about three days old. A few times it almost tripped over its own feet but kept up to the slowly moving herd, encouraged by its mother. A big old solitary bull elephant delighted us by taking a mud bath in a mud hole right by the road. Zebras
and antelope varieties were the most plentiful, found from the beginning to the very end of the safari. Many birds lighted on trees near the road; each time Bennett stopped the vehicle, turned
Rambling Elephant Family
They set the pace for our vehicles!
it off, and identified the bird. Some were beautifully exotic, such as my favourite, the Ground Hornbill
– black body, red chest and neck, white flashings. Like everything else, when we saw two flying and when they landed in the grass, they disappeared from sight.
The rules of Kruger National Park kept us on the roads and inside the vehicle, except in designated, secured picnic grounds. There are campsites, too, although we never saw them. The rules are to preserve both the humans and the animals. From the hotel we had a boxed breakfast (thin, white bread sandwich of mystery meat and shredded cheese, yogurt, green apple, banana and lychee nut juice box). Much later, our guide put out a picnic lunch, presumably from the hotel, of white buns (quite good), roast chicken pieces, several salads, cheese and banana spice loaf, with delicious guava juice.
Finally back at the hotel, I went for a refreshing swim in a pleasantly cool pool, put away the laundry done by the hotel, and joined the others for dinner of beef potjie
(stew cooked slowly), rice, delicious sweet potatoes, pickled beets, coleslaw, lemon meringue pie and Windhoek beer.
in our safari.
of elephants bathing.
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